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Richard Giulianotti: The UK Football Laboratory

Football in the UK has been one of the most important venues for the application of public order legislation and new policing strategies since the 1960s. Initial policing strategies, such as supporter segregation and bans on alcohol consumption, involved the rudimentary physical control of crowd excesses.

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Missing image of: UK Football
Copyright: Kaiweisheep

In the 1980s and 1990s, in response to fan hooliganism, football became a politico-cultural laboratory for emergent kinds of disciplinary leisure and public order panopticism, such as through the establishment of all-seated grounds and omnipresent CCTV cameras.  In turn, fresh forms of governmentality were cultivated in the game, notably through the invention and normalization of new (more orderly) fan identities.  These processes may only be understood fully in political economic terms, with reference to two kinds of structural relationship: the neo-liberal (or cartelizing) ties of football institutions to transnational corporations such as media and merchandise companies; and the crucial neo-mercantilist links between the football industry, national football associations and the nation-state.

Dr Richard Giulianotti is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Aberdeen.  In September 2006, he will be taking up a new appointment as Professor of Sociology at Durham University.  He is author of Football: A Sociology of the Global Game (Polity, 1999), and Sport: A Critical Sociology (Polity, 2004).  He has recently co-authored, with Adrian Walsh, Ethics, Money & Sport (Routledge, 2006).  He is editor or co-editor of nine books on sport, most recently (with Gary Armstrong) Football in Africa (Palgrave, 2004), Sport and Modern Social Theorists (Palgrave, 2005) and (with David McArdle) Sport, Civil Liberties and Human Rights (Taylor & Francis, 2006).  He has published numerous articles in mainstream and specialist journals, and has given papers and invited speeches at many international conferences.