Football Fever: An Analysis of 'Spectator Violence', 'Nation-ness', and the May 13th Dinamo - Red Star Riot




Van Woert, Nicholas

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This thesis explores the triggers for 'spectator violence' at football matches. Reviewing two approaches, the social problem approach and the 'moral panic' approach, this research concludes violence lies within nationalism as an ideology in defense of the football 'nation'. It explores multiple terms associated with sports violence and operationalizes the complex terms associated with 'nation-ness' (nationalism, 'nation', and nationality). The final evidence is given through the violent football riot between Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade on the 13th of May, 1990. This bloody football event became the starting point for the Croatian War for Independence. Within this case study is undeniable evidence for nationalism as the trigger for violence. While discussing other factors for violence, this paper concludes with questions for future research and what analysts should consider in future football violence.



Nationalism, Violence, Soccer/football, Nation, Balkans, Spectator