chapter  2
15 Pages

Violence and Aggression: Has Football Always Been Violent?

Often referred to by the populist term, the ‘English disease’, football has elicited various types of disorder, aggression and violence amongst its participants (mostly fans but also including players and managers) that are not found in any other sport. As one of the first aspects of football culture to be studied by academics, this chapter outlines the complex and multifaceted problem of football hooliganism in its historical, cultural, social and political context. To try to theorise an understanding about the origins and reasons behind the existence of football hooliganism, the chapter highlights three often-cited explanations that emerged from the 1960s to the 1980s: the Marxist account of Ian Taylor, Peter Marsh and his colleagues at Oxford University, and the Leicester School’s emphasis on the figurational approach of Norbert Elias.