Free «The Social Dimensions of Football Violence & Football Hooliganism» Essay Sample


Football violence and football hooliganism have been popular forms of social disobedience sine the beginning of the 19th century. Today, football violence and football hooliganism are a part of modern culture and football games. Much of the violence before and after football games is done by people your age. It is also far more serious than the occasional acts of vandalism, the housebreaks, and the car thefts that are common among youth in other neighborhoods. Murder and assault, either in gang warfare or against a member of a family, occur regularly. Sometimes, football fans behave violently because of the violence they see around them; it is an expected and accepted response to certain situations, as normal as a verbal argument in a more subdued environment. Thesis Football violence and football hooliganism is a social phenomenon influenced by peer pressure, social environments and family violence experienced by football fans.

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The growth of facilities, opportunity and investment in the sports infrastructure in has increasingly offered more options to more people during the last thirty years. With increased pressure, particularly on public authorities to cut expenditure, and an underlying belief by the present Government that provision for sport is not an area in which they should be much involved, question marks appear for the nineties against further expansion in the public sector unless there is a radical change of direction. The spectre of long-term mass unemployment during much of the 1980s has been frighteningly real and the social wilderness of the inner cities has already created its own new social problems. Sport and the opportunity to participate in sport and recreation activities cannot solve the problems of the underprivileged and the deprived but they can make a contribution to a total package of measures if the political will exists to create such packages. There is, however, a range of grave problems that confront sport as the nineties unfold. Violence associated with football appears to be endemic in society and has long ceased to be confined to Great Britain (Armstrong, 2003).

The growth of commercialism in sport during the past thirty years has been spectacular and has contributed greatly to the financial well-being of many governing bodies of sport and to individual sportsmen and women. However within this phenomenon lurks the risk that sport could be diverted into channels that would end with control passing into the hands of television companies, entrepreneurs and agents unless those who have control have a clear vision of where the interests of their sport lie now, and would wish to lie by the turn of the century. It will require wisdom and tenacity by those with the responsibility to give to sponsors what they rightly require in return for their investment while retaining control and the integrity of their sport (Tsoukala, 2008).

Some fans commit violent acts to prove they are not chicken; again, a pressure put on them by certain members of the society in which they live. Or, a young person may act out of boredom brought on by the lack of employment and recreational opportunities. The rate of violence, we know, goes up markedly when young people find themselves hanging out with little to occupy their time, or when they have not learned to control aggression by redirecting their energy into study, hobbies, sports, or work. Instead, they may behave violently to relieve their frustrations, or to take out their anger. There is nearly unanimous agreement that many football fans are behaving violently because they are rebelling against tradition, and against a competitive social system that is conducted, in the words of one official of the Japan Teachers' Union, in an atmosphere of commands, orders, regulations, and penalties. The rules are, indeed, strict: stiff, black, military-cut uniforms for the boys; long black skirts for the girls; no smoking, no true expression of views, no wandering from the lesson plan of the teacher. There is often physical and mental abuse of the students: in one incident, a thirty-year-old junior high school teacher was accused of punching eighteen of his first-year pupils and pouring water over their heads because they failed to report a smoking incident (Perryman, 2002). Critics see football hooliganism as

“the result of the weakening of family control, urban reforms in postwar British cities, the increase in the wages of football players, or the fact that football hooligans simply love fighting. The wrongdoers are dissociated from their social context. The reporting also lacks any sign of a political analysis of the phenomenon. Despite their long-lasting links to far-Right ideology, football hooligans are scarcely seen as persons acting with any political consciousness. At best, they are presented as passive instruments of a tabloid-diffused chauvinistic and xenophobic ideology” (Tsoukala 2008, p. 54).

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Influenced by the game itself, the fans lose control of themselves. It is the fan who screams "kill him" at the boxer who has an opponent reeling on the ropes, "break his arm," as a lineman charges in on a defenseless quarterback, or who shouts obscenities, hurls bottles, firecrackers, and rocks at baseball and hockey players, or who charges out onto a playing field to throw a punch at an umpire or a player, or starts a riot in the stands. One glaring example: in 1964, three hundred people were killed and five hundred injured in a riot at a soccer game in Lima, Peru. Inflamed by the sometimes violent action before them, and quite often drunk on beer they have bought at the stadium or brought in with them, many fans behave worse than the athletes (Armstrong, 2003). The sports columns, too, perpetuate the violence, not by advocating it, but by their figures of speech: players are "creamed," "totaled," or "pulverized"; teams are "crushed," "demolished," and "devastated"; football scores given on radio often sound like the results of a war. While both players and officials can stop a lot of violence among fans by paying stern attention to the rules and penalizing unsportsmanlike conduct, the fans, too, bear some responsibility for keeping the games they watch relatively peaceful by making an effort to boo, rather than cheer, deliberate violence when it occurs (Perryman, 2002).

Fan which have gone further than this and established various kinds of institutional or behavioral separations are indicated in a further column. Real survival of a unique language or dialect, for example, counts as evidence of hooliganism.  Similarly it does not necessarily concern itself with territories of government, as these regions need not correspond to cultural identities. Whilst sport at élite level raises many powerful and worrying questions, sport for the masses, sport for all, poses no such philosophical issues and the last twenty years have seen this social phenomenon arise, grow and develop nationally and world wide. Starting in Western Europe the Sport for All movement captured the spirit and feel of the time and found echoes in the hearts, minds and bodies of men and women of every race, colour and ideology irrespective of standard of performance. Sport for fun, for health, for social purposes is within the historical tradition of sport in Britain and today it is part of the life-style for a greater proportion of citizens than it was twenty-five years ago (Armstrong, 2003).

Much of what has been observed of the fans inability to learn from experience needs to be related to this characteristic. Life would be much less dangerous--and much less fun for the fan as psychopath-if he really allowed himself to learn and thus to know the altogether likely consequences of his behavior. A football fan prefers an open-ended world: whether he takes off in his car cross-country, with no planned destination or time of arrival, or merely says something outrageous and shocking in conversation, he is looking to create situations of ambiguity and potential danger (Armstrong, 2003). Communities with higher levels of social organization and control had lower rates of juvenile delinquency than did less well organized neighborhoods. Interpretations of this link suggest that in communities with high levels of control, neighbors, in a collective and individual sense, organize to enforce the norms they deem valuable, such as low drug use and truancy. Even after controlling for socioeconomic status, rates of alcohol and drug use were lower in more organized communities. Other studies have shown that neighborhood characteristics have implications for the effectiveness of violence prevention initiatives as well. Studies of the neighborhood primarily examine economically challenged youth and communities, and within this circumscribed scope, attend largely to minority youth. This focus underscores the needs of people in economically impoverished situations, connecting these needs and their contexts to youths' functioning, giving rise to meaningful basic research and valuable policy initiatives. Yet, concentration largely on youth who are economically impoverished leads to a lack of information regarding youth who face other profound challenges (Perryman, 2002).

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Football fans confronting the challenges of aggression, whether in economically impoverished or more advantaged communities, may experience life in their communities in ways that are unique. Football fans represent a special challenge to communities, because their needs may be greater than those of other families living nearby. Instead, community characteristics influence families, and families in turn influence adolescents. In highly stressed communities, families may bolster efforts to protect adolescents from proximal dangers. This healthy wish to protect a child from danger, however, may be exacerbated in families that already engage in protective strategies surrounding the management. Although increased protection may help adolescents' physical well-being to some extent, it may have the unfortunate consequence of undermining adolescents' attempts at individuation and attainment of other developmentally appropriate goals. The research shows that in neighborhoods with low levels of social organization and control, adolescents' risk of engaging in deviant activity is increased (Guilianotti, 1994).The greater the prevalence of adolescents who engage in delinquent activity, the more opportunity for other adolescents to become associated with football hooliganism. It is suggested that such a situation presents a particularly risky situation for low income people. These young people may be more susceptible to trying to “fit in” with peers, a situation that exposes them to the negative influence of peer pressure. If this is the case, then adolescents with diabetes who live in neighborhoods with low levels of social organization may be most vulnerable to engaging in delinquent activity. In other words, the relation between socially disorganized neighborhoods and delinquent adolescents may be intensified by increased vulnerability to peer pressure (Perryman, 2002).

Drug and alcohol abuse during football matches is also a cause of hooliganism. Alcohol, which is a drug, also plays a part in the violence, though in a different way. It is legal, thus there is no connection between selling alcohol and violence -although during Prohibition this was not the case (Armstrong, 2003). But alcohol plays a strong part in many of the violent deaths -- the murders and suicides, as well as the fatal accidents -- that occur in slum neighborhoods. Some people deliberately get drunk to get up the courage to do something illegal or violent. Many studies have shown, in fact, that if it were not for intoxication, certain violent acts might not have occurred. But a more structured, formal sort of group violence -- or more accurately, groups that approve of violence to underline their aims -- has existed for centuries. Included among such organizations are those of religious fanatics, secret societies, political terrorists, and underworld "families." Each may use violent methods to instill fear, to punish, to overthrow governments or force them to change their way of thinking (Perryman, 2002).

Violence and abusive relations inside the family can also lead to football hooliganism and disobedience. In referring to the patterns of abusive relationships uses the terms partner violence and domestic violence interchangeably. For the reasons already cited, however, the term male partner violence is preferable. It more adequately conveys the broad range and classes of acts that define abusive relationships. Violence more typically connotes battery, obscuring the other manifestations of abuse included in the definition. This use of the term domestic violence appears to put blinders on what researchers study. As this review reveals, other forms of abuse-such as isolation, psychological abuse, and threats-have been little studied or written about by the medical community. Empirical data is thus largely limited to the impact of physical and sexual violence on women's health and medical care utilization (Perryman, 2002). For instance, the case of Ireland shows that “Expressions of concern over recreational violence usually had less to do with the injuries inflicted than with the image projected. As long as the Irish could be portrayed as drunken barbarians bashing each others' brains out for the fun of it, any economic or political hardships could be blamed on the Irish character” (Conley 1999, p. 57).

Some critics admit that all youth in the same community are exposed to the same level of hooliganism and football violence. Second, among those who are exposed to the same level of a community characteristic, not all will respond in the same way. Currently, psychosocial predictors of diabetic youths' health status include a patients' adherence and stress. This work suggests that in addition to these individual level predictors, medical health professionals consider the context in which diabetes will be managed. The full gamut of highly organized to highly chaotic and dangerous neighborhoods has implications for how adolescents manage their disease, as well as for how their families will cope with maintenance. Consideration of the neighborhood context with respect to disobedience during football matches should occur at multiple levels, including the medical level (e.g., pediatricians taking into account the contextual barriers to compliance), research level (e.g., social scientists exploring the potential role of community characteristics on diabetic adolescents' adherence, general well-being, and family processes), and the policy level (e.g., implementing social policy that moves toward creating optimal environments for all youth, with particular attention to those who are chronically ill). Violence is a multifaceted phenomenon, and is manifested not only physically, but also psychofogically and sexually. Studies to date reflect the attempts of investigators to understand the impact of different forms of violence on victims. The process is complicated by the complexity of the problem, as evidenced in the lack of consistent definitions across studies, difficulties around measuring health outcomes, and a lack of analysis of the multivariate nature of factors that may influence or compound the effects of violence (Armstrong, 2003’ Conley, 1999).


Football violence and hooliganism is a social phenomenon influenced greatly social class, neighborhoods and family relations. It is important to remember that society, especially the family part of it, can also put pressure on a young person by being too strict and demanding, by insisting on model behavior. Just as a child may react aggressively if parents encourage aggressive behavior, or are angry or hostile themselves, so, too, may a young person behave badly, sometimes aggressively, out of frustration brought on by continual pressure to be good. Psychologists point out that children who are overpolite, who always do the "right thing," can become emotional cripples and are apt to commit aggressive acts if they cannot or do not want to meet the high goals their parents set for them.

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