Football, European identities and social cohesion in Europe

The FANZinE research project, funded by the BMBF, examines how being a football fan in professional men’s football can contribute to cohesion in Europe. Against the backdrop of various European crises, intensifying anti-European attitudes in some countries and the establishment of Eurosceptic political movements, the aim is to extend previous research on European identity to include the influence of mass leisure activities such as men’s professional football.

The project examines how the regular contact with “Europe” through football (European competitions, players and coach transfers as well as cross-border fan contacts) affects the patterns of identification, understood as the membership communities and the reference frameworks of football fans in four European countries (Germany, Norway, Poland, and Spain). Through a mixed-methods research strategy, FANZinE investigates the media environment, fans’ own attitudes and patterns of behaviour as well as expert opionions on fan identifications and identities. Additionally, FANZinE aims to develop concrete recommendations for practical action on the basis of solid scientific findings. It will work out what professional clubs, football associations, fan organisations and fan projects can do to strengthen cohesion in Europe through the identification of football fans.

FANZinE builds on and expands the work done by the EUFOOT-project (‘The identity effect of Europeanised lifeworlds. Becoming European through Football?’).