Contemporary Issues in Sport
The main issue that I have chosen is hooliganism in football. The article to be analysed is that of Eric Dunning: Soccer Hooliganism as a world social problem, (in Sport Matters- sociological studies of sport, violence and civilization (2001). Other works will also be looked at to highlight wider understanding of soccer hooliganism from different social thoughts. What will follow is an essay that will try to cover issues raised by Dunning in his article. It is worth noting that Dunning in his quest to understand soccer hooliganism comes from a figurational perspective (this will be discussed later).
Official explanations of football hooliganism
There has been some popular explanation of football hooliganism made by the media and politicians. These explanations have often been refuted by sociological academics such as Dunning, Giulianotti, and Kerr. One popular belief is that excessive alcohol consumption is a cause of football hooliganism.
Dunning in his article rejects this explanation simply as he states: "Drinking cannot be said to be a deep cause of football hooliganism, for the simple reason that every fan who drinks, even heavily, takes part in hooligan acts. Nor does every hooligan drink" (Dunning 1988:13). This rejection of popular belief is further reinforced by Kerr (1994) who says that hooligans are not drunks before engaging in violence, simply because they need to have a clear head to co-ordinate activities and fight.
Much of the past speculation concerning the violent behavior often associated with English and European football cultures has attempted to explain such behaviors as the result of excessive drinking or fans imitating the violent antics of the players on the field (Dunning, Murphy, and Williams 1984). As pointed out by Eric Dunning and his associates, this thinking is incorrect. The majority of fans who drink do...