Supporter Mobilisation: Social Movements, Football Fandom and Popular Protest

  • Peter Millward
Part of the Global Culture and Sport book series (GCS)


This chapter draws together the profiled football supporters’ protests, adding further analysis with the explicit use of social movement theories. Despite a lack of literature which has explicitly explored the ways in which social movements operate among football supporters, popular forms of organised protests have emerged. In Chapters 4 and 5, it was noted how previous research on football fans is underpinned by the notion of collective identity and community — support as an act of sociality — that identifies common enemies, often viewed as a football rival. Although many supporters show communal participation, it is somewhat surprising that the theoretical frameworks that have been developed to explore forms of collective action and social movements have never been applied to the context of football support. While it was noted in Chapter 4 that fans’ disillusionment is not new, Alinsky (1971) and Jasper (1998) both argued that social movements and popular protest emerges from moral shocks in which a named person is blamed for the ‘wrong-doing’. This is what has happened at Liverpool and Manchester United, where Tom Hicks and George Gillett at the former, and the Glazer family at the latter, have been blamed for the commercial forces in the EPL of which they are part but did not wholly create.


Collective Action Social Movement Collective Identity Taxi Driver Supporter Mobilisation 
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Copyright information

© Peter Millward 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Millward
    • 1
  1. 1.Durham UniversityUK

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