Ultras. Youth subcultures in the stadiums of Europe (1994)

Year after year, the football championship regularly features dramatic and sometimes fatal events. These events bring up the age-old issue of violence in stadiums, which is linked to a question that has been debated for years by the media, authorities and operators in the sector: are hooligans fans who make mistakes or hooligans tout court? And does this violence directly concern football, or is it more generally attributed to the distortions of our society? In short, there is a lack of understanding of a complex phenomenon that takes the form of a youth subculture, which is the subject of this report. The research aims to define the peculiarities that unite the ultras across the continent, tracing the ‘thread’ that links the young Russian ultras to the Portuguese, the Danish, to the Greek. To achieve this objective, the movement’s entire history is reconstructed from its earliest origins, and the many theories produced by the various sociological schools on the subject are subjected to the test of reality. With this report, Eurispes intends to offer information operators a complete work tool, which contains both a detailed historical-phenomenological reconstruction of the ultras movement in Europe and, more specifically, in Italy from its birth to the present day and an exhaustive exposition of the most general and accredited theories on violence in football. A path away from quantitative sociology has been chosen to pursue these objectives, preferring an approach that uses the paths of historical reconstruction and forms of participatory research that allow the quality of the academic elaboration to be verified.






Chapter 1

The sociologist and the ultras

Studies on football hooliganism


A movement of resistance

“Aggro”, or violence as ritual

Blood, sweat and beer

The need to appear

Some empirical analyses: Germany and former Yugoslavia



Chapter 2

England 1890-1990: A Century of Hooligan Subculture

The English Specificity

The Victorian Boy

A fictitious truce

Youth alert: “teddy boys” and “mods”.

The ‘boot-boy

The early 1980s: the swastika on the curve

The movement grows: the strategy of hooliganism

The styles of the curve: from the “skinhead” to the “casual”

The nineties: the strategy of the commands


Chapter 3

The ultra movement in continental Europe

Germany, Austria and Switzerland

The Benelux

Northern European countries

Latin countries

Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans

Aegean area

Outside Europe


Chapter 4

Italy 1900-1990: from the supporter to the ultras

Radio Derby

Football, year zero

The new century

The post-war period

Mass support

The young person: consumer, subversive, hooligan

General protest: the Sixties

The styles of Italian youth 177

The birth of the ultra movement

The political question and the transformations of the ultras model

The advent of the hooligan model

Football violence in Italy: what to do?

Ultraviolence in Italy: what to do?


Chapter 5

History of the ultras movement in Italy

The birth of the movement

The ultras movement in the early eighties

The post-Heysel period

The ultras movement in the 1990s

The black curves

Relations with the institutions: law enforcement, federal authorities, society

Beyond violence: positive activities and communication tools


Chapter 6

History of the ultras movement in Italy

The behavioural sphere of the supporter

The two ultra models

The ultrà culture

Advent and fall of the “English model” in Italy



Chronology and mapping of the ultra movement in Europe and Italy



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