“Just to pique them”

Takings Sides, Social Identity, and Sport Audiences

Authored by: Vivi Theodoropoulou

The Routledge Companion to Media Fandom

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138638921
eBook ISBN: 9781315637518
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315637518.ch23

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on European football and on every day, ordinary, or casual football fans (Sandvoss and Kearns 2014, Theodoropoulou 1999) in Cyprus and their symbolic communication and behavior in-field and in other contexts. These are fans that experience their fandom in lower degrees of intensity, given that fandom can be appropriated and expressed on a degree scale as part of a spectrum (Giulianotti 2002, Wann et al. 2001, Theodoropoulou 1999, Abercrombie and Longhurst 1998). The chapter goes beyond the stereotype of the deviant, violent football fan or passive dupe of staged mass-culture phenomena (Jenson 1992) to a more positive portrait of fans as participants in popular culture actively appropriating their recreational activity. It suggests that for many fans, such as those studied, fandom and the associated in-field communicative behavior is a form of identity display and of participation in a festivity whereby they unwind and escape from everyday life. In discussing fans’ behavior in different contexts, the chapter also tells us something about fandom performativity and contextuality. The fact that fan identity has different gravity in different everyday contexts is telling of the variant behavior of fans and of the fact that fandom does not necessarily take over all aspects of their lives.

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