Squaring the ball? Fandom making FC St Pauli a reflection of political and local identities

GT 1.7 El fútbol como generador de identidades políticas

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Sesión 1
Día: jueves,21 de septiembre de 2017
Hora: 09:00 a 11:00
Lugar: Seminario 2.2.

Since its incremental 'takeover' by 'politicised' fans from the mid-1980s onwards, FC St Pauli has become a symbol for the merger of football with expressions of political identity and counter-culture. This perception and development has by no means been straight-forward and remains highly contested in an environment of debatable trade-offs between expressions of fandom and political identities on the one side, and commercial interests and the professional nature of the football club, on the other. While some observers view FC St Pauli as a successful example of engaged and politicising fandom, others reject this notion and criticise the commercialisation of the 'Kult-Status' and 'myths' as a creation to market this football club product more successfully. In spite of admissible shortcomings in consistency and with the broadness of political positioning and heterogeneous identities and interests, the club and the political identities of its fans are a captivating subject of study, as FC St Pauli is a good example to study how football fandom can facilitate political group expressions and offers a broad framework for key political causes that in turn generate individual and group political identities.
The club's fan base continues to reach beyond traditional national, regional or class value identities with its broad, but distinctive 'left'-leaning political identity containing fan expressions of 'self-perceived certainties' that include the rejection of racism, neo-fascism, homophobia, commercialization of football, and sexism, while at the same time embracing themes of regional injustice and critiquing gentrification.
In addition to this appears the existence of a certain fan ethos, fuelled by activists, fan clubs and fanzines as well as the club's management, that promotes political and community engagement in the form of volunteering and fund raising that is broadly linked to the 'political identities' the club and its fan-base are perceived to stand for.
This study examines the factors that have been contributing to the growth of the expression of notions of 'left-wing' counter-culture and its merger with the 'politicising appeal of a football fan culture' that remains centred on the expression of 'political identity though football fandom'.

Palabras clave: football; political identity; identities; fandom; left; St Pauli