Identifying observable criteria defining a critical situation involving football fans: an expert focus group study

Schumacher-Dimech, Anne Marie; Brechbühl, Alain; Seiler, Roland (17 July 2015). Identifying observable criteria defining a critical situation involving football fans: an expert focus group study. In: Seiler, Roland; Schmid, Olivier (eds.) 14th European Congress of Sport Psychology (p. 168). Bern: University of Bern, Institute of Sport Science

Critical situations (CSs) involving football fans is a well-researched phenomenon with most studies examining factors leading to an escalation of violence (e.g. Braun & Vliegenthart, 2008). However, research so far has fallen short of analysing CSs that do not escalate (e.g. Hylander & Guvå, 2010) as well as establishing observable criteria that constitute such CSs. Granström et al. (2009), for instance, put forward a definition of a CS describing such situations as characterised by a discrepancy between peace and war-making behaviours between police and demonstrators. Still, this definition remains vague and does not provide concrete, defining criteria that can be identified on site. The present study looks beyond fans’ violent acts per se and focuses on these situations with a potentially – but not necessarily - violent outcome. The aim of this preliminary study is to identify observable criteria defining such a CS involving football fans. This focus group comprised of five experts working with football fans in the German-speaking area of Switzerland who discussed observable characteristics of a CS. Inductive content analysis led to the identification of specific criteria such as, “arrest of a fan”, “insufficient distance (<30m) between fans and police” and “fans mask themselves”. These criteria were then assigned to four phases of a CS highlighting the dynamic aspect of this phenomenon: Antecedents, Causes, Reactions, Consequence. Specifically, Causes, Reactions and Consequences are observable on site, while Antecedents include relevant, background information directly influencing a CS. This study puts forward a working definition of a CS that can facilitate the assessment of actual situations in the football context as well as for further research on fan violence prevention and control. These results also highlight similarities with studies investigating fan violence in other European countries while acknowledging unique characteristics of the Swiss German fan culture.

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:

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

Subjects:

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

ISBN:

978-3-033-05129-4

Publisher:

University of Bern, Institute of Sport Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Roland Seiler

Date Deposited:

30 Sep 2015 12:07

Last Modified:

30 Sep 2015 12:07

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/71982

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