Self-Identification of Football Hooligans within the Social Space of Informal Groups



This paper describes a research on football hooligans' attitudes towards the representatives of various youth subcultures. Basically, the attitude is constructed around the following modalities: 'friend-stranger', 'safe-dangerous'. Also, there are three characteristics that are typical of football hooligans' attitude towards the representatives of other informal groups: first, the ones whom they identify as 'friends' are those whose activities or ways of living are obviously related to risk; second, social values are of no significance in the description of their own subculture; third, their attitude towards football fans of other football clubs is ambiguous. As it was revealed through a comparative analysis of the attitudes, there is a certain distinction between the 'inside point of view' and the 'outside point of view': when evaluating from the inside, football hooligans refer to their group mates as 'safe', whereas from the outside, hooli¬gans of other football clubs are clearly perceived as 'dangerous'.

General Information

Keywords: youth subcultures, 'football hooligans', 'tolkienists', 'punks', 'extreme sports lovers', 'skinheads', 'antifascists', 'acid lovers', 'bikers', 'bright young things', 'rednecks, 'friends-strangers', 'safe-dangerous'

Journal rubric: Applied Research and Practice

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Sobkin V.S., Tyan A.A. Self-Identification of Football Hooligans within the Social Space of Informal Groups. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2012. Vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 127–142. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Vladimir S. Sobkin, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education, Head of the Center for Sociology of Education, Institute of Education Management, Center for Modern Problems of Modern Education at the Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Andrey A. Tyan, PhD Student at the Institute of Educational Sociology, Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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