‘To Try and Gain an Advantage for My Team’: Homophobic and Homosexually Themed Chanting among English Football Fans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Association football (soccer) fans are becoming increasingly liberal in their attitudes towards homosexuality. However, the continued presence of homosexually themed chanting – normally interpreted as evidence of homophobia by footballing authorities – has received little academic attention. Through 30 semi-structured interviews with 30 male football fans of various English football clubs, this article uses McCormack’s model of homosexually themed language to investigate the prevalence, triggers and interpretation of this chanting. It highlights that, despite unanimous acceptance of homosexuality, all but five participants engaged in homosexually themed chanting. This was predominantly facilitated by the nature of sporting competition and matches involving rival clubs. Alongside a variety of perceived weaknesses, fans interpreted these chants as a way of attempting to benefit one’s team. Accordingly, this research highlights a discursive gap between fans’ inclusive attitudes and their practice of chanting homosexually themed language inside football stadia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-726
JournalSociology
Volume52
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2017

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