Emotional Hooligan: Post-Subcultural Research and the Histories of Britain's Football Gangs

S.C. Redhead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This review essay looks anew at the connection between ‘deviant’ football hooligan literature and contemporary football hooligan subcultures. It considers some implications for the study of male dominated hooligan subcultures and the methodologies to be employed. The essay draws on new research work into the ‘low’ sport journalism genre of British football hooliganism literature, involving a comprehensive collection and reading of myriad football hooligan fan memoirs as well as interviews with participants. It shows that although hooligan subcultures disappeared from the mainstream media gaze for a time during the 1990s, partly as a result of legislation introduced to curb football gang violence, militaristic police operations and draconian prison sentences in the courts but also partly because of cultural change, there remain traces of these subcultures today. The argument also incorporates the notion that the methodological work which should be undertaken is a study of the simulacrum of hooliganism, the expanding body of football hooligan literature in all of its forms manifesting itself in literary novels and the explosion of ‘gangster’ memoirs of older football hooligans, which might eventually lead us to better, more informed ethnographies of football hooligan subcultures. The essay further engages with debates in socio-legal studies, sociology, cultural studies and criminology on football hooliganism and modernity and provides a unique bibliography of the field.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEntertainment and Sports Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


  • Gang Memoirs
  • Football Hooliganism
  • Masculinities
  • Football Casuals
  • Subculture
  • Post-Subculture
  • Accelerated Culture
  • Non-Postmodernity


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