Call for Papers | Official heroes and contested guerrillas: The role models of football fans’ patriotism | Webinar, April 1, 2022. Call ends January 31, 2022

Patriotism is displayed at the football stadiums in many different ways. It is expressed by fans through chants, flags and banners. Most of these contain national colours, national symbols, phrases from the national anthem or references to important historical events. Some supporter groups also use specific characters that they believe represent the nation, country and embody patriotic attitudes. These include mainly recognised historical figures – former rulers, liberators or famous warriors. However the persons from more recent history also appear – e.g. revolutionaries, popular leaders, politicians or armed resistance groups. At the same time, many supporters define their patriotism precisely by contesting these figures – by expressing opposition to them and to their vision of patriotism.

The concept of guerrilla patriotism (Nosal, Kossakowski & Woźniak, 2021) makes it possible to analyse not only the use of official national heroes by fans but also controversial figures who evoke strong reactions among others – support or rejection. This may be exemplified by the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) in Ukraine, the Ustaša organisation in Croatia, Arkan’s Tigers (Serbian Volunteer Guard) in Serbia, Cursed Soldiers in Poland, the ETA in the Basque Country and the IRA in Scotland (among some Celtic Glasgow fans), or Che Guevara in some European countries (eg. among 1. FC Sankt Pauli or Livorno supporters). In some cases this football-related memory policy may be in line in the official narratives of the ruling political elite (on a national, regional or local level), most often it is a contestation of the dominant discourse or an alternative for contemporary politicians and leaders.

We would like to invite everyone interested in the aforementioned topics to a webinar.

The webinar aims to identify the figures which are perceived as patriotic role-models or anti-role-models by football fans. We want to initiate the discussion to include examples from all over the world. Reflecting on them will allow us to analyse the role such figures play in the national discourse of football stadiums.

We invite submissions covering (but not limited to) the following topics:

      • The distant past at the banners, common symbols in hearts – kings, warriors and legendary heroes
      • Invented heroes – the social construction of the national mythical figures
      • Ethnic conflicts representations’ at the terraces
      • Guerrilla troops as role models
      • Supporters’ protests against or support for autocrats and dictators
      • Political leaders as the praised or contested figures at football stadiums
      • Global political leaders – fans’ perception
      • (Re)thinking the colonial heritage
      • Fascists and Nazis – contexts of their never-ending presence at some terraces
      • Legendary footballers as a heroes supporting patriotism on local and national level
      • Che Guevara, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin – leftist figure-symbols and their appreciation or rejection
      • Gendered role models – are women heroes on the stands as equal as men?
      • Oldschool and charismatic fans as role-models, inspirations and legends


      • Abstract Deadline: January 31, 2022
      • Notification of decision: March 1, 2022
      • Webinar: April 1, 2022

Abstract submission

Please send abstracts (300 words maximum) with a short biographical statement to Jean-Michel De Waele ( and Przemysław Nosal (

The working language of the webinar is English.


Participation in the webinar – both as speaker and listener – is free.


Please send any questions about the webinar to Przemysław Nosal (

Registration as a listener

The information about registration to webinar will be published after March 1, 2022.


The preparation of the book proposal or the proposal of a special issue of a journal is planned based on the presentations.


Nosal Przemysław, Kossakowski Radosław & Woźniak Wojciech (2021) “Guerrilla patriotism and mnemonic wars: cursed soldiers as role models for football fans in Poland”, Sport in Society, 24:11, 2050-2065, DOI: 10.1080/17430437.2021.1892644

Jean-Michel De Waele
Professeur de Science politique
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Tel : 00.32.650.44.81
Avenue Jeanne 44, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgique

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