This article is concerned with an emerging trend in political participation: the role played by football fans in engendering activism and protest. The role of fan activism in the debate on patterns of civic and political (dis)engagement – in the age of so-called anti-politics – has been ignored by the scholarly literature thus far. As a corrective, this article examines the development of football fan activism over the last thirty years, since the creation of the English Premier League in 1992. It adopts a case study approach centred on supporters’ movements since 1992. It argues that the political activism of football fans has both quantitatively and qualitatively changed over this period. Employing the sociological theory of Manuel Castells it claims that collective identities developed in resistance to the commercialisation and commodification within football have developed into more distinct ‘project identities’ that seek bring about more profound social change through football.
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- fan activism
- English Premier League
- social movements