Arianna Sale

An ethnography of contested space. A comparison of public order management of football stadiums in Italy and the UK

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This paper aims to present the dynamics of social control measures adopted in football grounds by comparing strategies in Italy and the UK. The first section explores what football stadium «ends» (or «curvas») mean symbolically for their «inhabitants», and also investigates the different models of fans' social aggregation and uses of the space. I will then turn to how these «fan practices » clash with the strategies of social control and public order management in football grounds. The outcomes of my ethnographic research reveal the role of both negotiation and repression in Italian grounds, whereas in the UK, situational prevention devices are seen to be important. I will also focus my attention on the public-ness or private-ness of football facilities and the implications of stadium «mallification» in the managing of security. Showing how this process is leading to social exclusion, the paper lastly questions the actual meaning of the concept of «public order» within football stadium «ends».


  • Football stadiums
  • public order
  • privatisation
  • social conflict


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