Participant observation and research into football hooliganism: reflections on the problems of entree and everyday risks
This paper discusses the author's fieldwork experiences while initiating and undertaking substantive participant observation research with two rival groups of Scottish football hooligans ("football casuals"). Key problems examined are those that emerge from attempted entree into the hooligan subcultures and the everyday risks of comparative research with violent fans. The author provides regular illustrations to highlight how dangers such as the researcher's personal characteristics, lack of guiding sociological literature, and interaction with police officers can threaten the urban ethnographic project. The resultant ambivalence of some research subjects toward the author is interpreted as one reason for minimizing the prospect of his "going native."
This research was financed by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (Award No. ROO0 232910) and the University of Aberdeen.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences