An ethnographic study of football supporters in Northern Ireland

  • Gavin Watters

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis is an ethnographic study of football supporters in Northern Ireland. It focuses on the supporters of Cliftonville Football Club, based in North Belfast.

    This thesis examines the relationship of the supporters with the club including the various activities of the supporters in association with the club and the identification of the supporters with the club. It scrutinizes the relationships between supporters, including the various interactions that take place between the supporters and the identification of supporters with each other. In this thesis, I challenge those representations of football supporters that portray them as a homogenous mass by showing that they are composed of many different social groups, based on ties of family, friendship and neighbourhood.

    This thesis presents an intimate, ground level picture of supporters. It looks at who these supporters are, what exactly they are doing and with whom they are doing these activities. It examines the supporter as an individual and part of a larger collective. It examines the supporter as part of both intimate and casual social groups who are involved in a series of varying and overlapping social relationships. It analyses how the fan supports the club. However, equally, it moves past the view of the football fan as just a ‘supporter’ and explores their behaviour and practice through social interactions and relationships.
    Date of AwardDec 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Queen's University Belfast
    SupervisorJohn Knight (Supervisor)

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