Call for Papers | Special issue of Sport in Society | “The Ultras – The global development of a fan phenomenon”

Submission of Interest Deadline: 1 December 2014

sis-dsFocus and topics

Ultras are the most prominent form of football fandom in the 21st century. From their origins in Italy in the 1960s, this style of fandom has spread across Europe and then across the globe. Central to the ultras style of fandom is an unwavering support for their team. In order to demonstrate this, the phenomenon uses visual choreographies of banners, flags, and pyrotechnics, as well as incorporating songs and chants into the display. Much of this draws on local rivalry to reassert the difference from their opponents. Occasionally this rivalry can descend into violence and this has led to the authorities attempting to impose legislation to tackle the ultras. This has politicised various groups, which harks back to their political origins in Italy. Some groups are challenging the legal repression and the police, whilst in Egypt and Turkey, various ultras groups have united against the government. The result is a dynamic and powerful force in global football fandom and wider society.

This special edition seeks to bring together new research and theoretically informed papers to contribute to an understanding of the ultras phenomenon and establish a foundation for future scholarship on this form of fandom. This Special Issue invites papers that can contribute to new research agendas on ultras fandom. Papers are invited on, but not limited to, the following themes:

  • Local and national identity amongst ultras
  • Political activism amongst ultras
  • Interactions between diverse groups of ultras
  • ultras and masculinity
  • female ultras
  • other forms of fandom’s relationship with the ultras
  • media representations of the ultras
  • methodological issues and innovations related to researching ultras
  • theoretical contributions to the role ad influence of the ultras
  • implications for policy and practice

Manuscript Submissions

Manuscripts for the ultras special issue should be submitted online by 1st October, 2015 at

In the submission process, authors should both note submission for the ultras special issue in a cover letter. Manuscripts should be 6000-7000 words (inclusive of references, endnotes, tables, and figures) and follow the Instructions for Authors. All manuscripts will be subject to peer review under the supervision of the Special Issue Editors and Editor-in-Chief. Expressions of interest, abstracts for consideration, and questions may be directed to the Special Issue Editor Mark Doidge at

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Mark Doidge, University of Brighton
  • Guest Editor: Martin Lieser, University of Vienna
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