Football Goes East: Business, Culture, and the People's Game in China, Japan, and South Korea

By Wolfram Manzenreiter; John Horne | Go to book overview
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6

Football 'hooligans' and football supporters' culture in China

Tan Hua


Introduction

Eric Dunning and colleagues (2002a) have recently published fourteen accounts of 'fighting fans' from around the world. Whilst the compilation includes one chapter about fans in Japan (Takahashi 2002), there was little discussion of football in China or Korea. In this respect, the following survey offers a chapter missing from the Dunning et al. collection. Since the 1980s Chinese professional football has developed tremendously, but the quantity and intensity of football-related social disorder, especially the visibility of football hooliganism, has also increased. In this chapter, I will analyse accounts of social disorder and other incidents of football hooliganism against the wider background of Chinese society and culture in order to understand better its distinctive characteristics. This chapter thus provides one of the first detailed analyses of Chinese football hooliganism and football supporters' culture in the English language.


Hooliganism around the world

Three of the co-editors of Fighting Fans usefully outline four reasons why football hooliganism - or to use less journalistic language, fighting and crowd disorder at football matches - retains great topicality after more than three decades of academic research into it. First, there remain considerable theoretical and methodological divergences over its explanation. Second, and as a result of the first point, understanding of the social and psychological roots of football hooliganism remains low, amongst policy makers as well as academic researchers and members of the public. Third, football-related crowd disorder has not been effectively curtailed. As each new season comes around and as the countdown starts toward one or other of the football mega-events (especially the UEFA European Nations Championship and the FIFA World Cup Finals), the media remind us how much football-related disorder remains a feature of the game. Fourth, and most instructive for my purposes, is the fact that Dunning and his collaborators consider that the investigation of hooliganism beyond Europe, where it has been most rigorously investigated by social scientists, can provide 'fresh insights' (Dunning et al. 2002b: 218) into the phenomenon. This chapter therefore sets out to provide an outline

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