The articulations of the true believers: football and neo-fascism in the Eternal City

Testa, Alberto ORCID: and Armstrong, Gary (2012) The articulations of the true believers: football and neo-fascism in the Eternal City. Journal of Mediterranean Studies, 21 (1). pp. 25-52. ISSN 1016-3476

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This paper examines two nationally renowned football (il calcio) supporter groups located in the capital city of Rome, the centre of Italian political power. The first the Boys, followers of AS Roma, have been notoriously neo-fascist in character since 1972. The second, the Irriducibili who follow SS Lazio, a club that also play in Rome, have, since 1987, attained a notoriety based on toughness and violence. Defying historical, enmitybased logic the Boys and Irriducibili have shared since 1987 a neo-fascist ideology that has made the two curva (terraces) they occupy in the capital city's Olympic Stadium less hostile to each other. Indeed, the two groups have turned their antagonism against the State and the Italian police. These fan-protagonists exist in groups known throughout Italy as UltraS, the capital S being our neologism to define the neo-fascist-oriented fans and to differentiate them from the wider hardcore football supporters who are referred to as ultra. The analysis herein focuses on these two UltraS entities and considers three central elements in the concept they promote of the 'true' UltraS: the principle of non omologazione (non-conformism), the Tradition versus Modernity opposition so crucial to the make-up of the UltraS cultural identity, and the attempt by such gatherings to live up to the ideal type of the Warrior. This research utilised the ethnographic method and involved the researcher 'being there' amongst the leading players of these two aforementioned groupings during various periods between 2001 and 2009. Those subject to academic inquiry are herein permitted to articulate their story and rationale. At the same time the researchers are concomitantly 'being here', seeking to infer the motivations of the members.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Law and criminal justice > Criminal justice
Law and criminal justice > Criminal justice > Criminology
Law and criminal justice > Law
Social sciences > Sociology of deviance
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Depositing User: Alberto Testa
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2014 16:30
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:42

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