Understanding Football Hooliganism

A Comparison of Six Western European Football Clubs

Ramón Spaaij

Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2006
Paperback, 498 pp. ISBN 978 9056 2944 58


Images courtesy of Kees Spruijt.

Football hooliganism periodically generates widespread political and public anxiety. In spite of the efforts made and resources invested over the past decades, football hooliganism is still perceived by politicians, policymakers and media as a disturbing social problem.

This highly readable book provides the first systematic and empirically grounded comparison of football hooliganism in different national and local contexts. Focused around the six Western European football clubs on which the author did his research, the book shows how different clubs experience and understand football hooliganism in different ways. The development and effects of anti-hooligan policies are also assessed. The emphasis throughout is on the importance of context, social interaction and collective identity for understanding football hooliganism. This book will be essential reading for anyone interested in football culture, hooliganism and collective violence.

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Read review in Analysis in Qualitative Research

Read full review in Tijdschrift voor Criminologie (Netherlands Journal of Criminology)

"A genuine pleasure to read. [Spaaij] demonstrates great knowledge of the topic and succeeds in communicating this knowledge in an attractive way, without succumbing to cheap sensationalism."

Tijdschrift voor Criminologie