Perceptions of critical situations involving football fans: the dynamics of conflict escalation or de-escalation

Brechbühl, Alain; Schumacher-Dimech, Anne Marie; Seiler, Roland (17 July 2015). Perceptions of critical situations involving football fans: the dynamics of conflict escalation or de-escalation. In: Seiler, Roland; Schmid, Olivier (eds.) 14th European Congress of Sport Psychology (p. 169). Bern: University of Bern, Institute of Sport Science

Fan violence in the context of football matches has drawn the attention of stakeholders and the media. This phenomenon has also attracted the scientific community’s attention, where research mostly focused on reasons for violence escalation. The Elaborated Social Identity Model (ESIM; Drury & Reicher, 2000) for example focuses on group-interactions and social identities, while the Aggravation Mitigation Model (AM model; Hylander & Guvå, 2010) concentrates on factors contributing to an escalation or a non-escalation of group-violence. However individual perceptions of the different persons involved in potential conflicts have not been sufficiently examined. Beside of that research in domestic football or involving ultrafans is scarce. Especially in Switzerland, there is a lack of research concerning the dynamics of the development or non-development of fan violence. This exploratory study included eight critical situations from the season 2012/2013 of the Swiss premier league to gather data about the perceptions of various persons involved (fans, police officers or security) and the dynamics contributing towards escalation or de-escalation. Fifty-nine narrative interviews were conducted and analysed with interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009). The individuals involved (fans, police and security personnel) showed groupspecific perceptions and a tendency to stereotype the opponent group. Provocative symbols (balaclavas or riot-gear uniforms) were important for the interpretation of the situation. No escalation occurred when successful communication and sufficient distance between the groups was established. Knowledge about the local fan culture is important, because it influences the perception of legitimacy on the side of the fans. This study improves the understanding of fan violence and is congruent with the ESIM and the AM model. It is suggested to deploy police dialogue teams without riot gear. Their task is to establish direct communication with the fans to facilitate a peaceful ending of a critical situation.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Science II

UniBE Contributor:

Brechbühl, Alain; Schumacher-Dimech, Anne Marie and Seiler, Roland

Subjects:

700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology

ISBN:

978-3-033-05129-4

Publisher:

University of Bern, Institute of Sport Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Roland Seiler

Date Deposited:

30 Sep 2015 11:03

Last Modified:

30 Sep 2015 11:11

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/71980

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