Most people are quick to blame the violence of some thugs or ‘scum’ whose interest is not to enjoy the game, but to populate the terraces with a view of causing chaos after. Social scientists have devoted their efforts in explaining the behaviour of fans and the factors to blame for the violence, but with no much success. However, to prove the seriousness of the issues the Leicester University sought to devote a whole centre aimed at researching on football and hooliganism, which made a great breakthrough in understanding the nature and trends of the menace in football. Soon after, many academicians and universities realized the seriousness of the issue and embarked on studies to understand the nature and the cause of football violence across Europe. Other than using theoretical perspectives, academicians zeroed in on understating the behaviours of fans in their hometowns, and the factors that may be blamed for triggering such violence in football matches (Mash et al, 1996). The contributions of Leicester University in demystifying football hooliganism lead to formation of a sociological school of thought based on Leicester University studies, which made wide ranging breakthroughs in understanding the vice and laying a platform on which numerous scholars based their studies. Leicester University scholars responded to earlier theories that tried to explain football hooliganism and how it could be approached, through a ‘figuration sociological approach’ that borrowed heavily from the theory of civilizing process by Norbert Elias (Spaaij, 2006). One of the school’s explanations was that over the years, values that are characteristic of a civilized behaviour had manifested in several classes across Europe, though the civilization behaviour had not adequately penetrated the lower classes of workers. Thus the theory tried to establish a relationship between the lower classes of the society and football itself (Spaaij, 2006). Dunning and his research colleagues identified fighting as one of the ways in which these groups experienced some excitement, status and defined their meanings, as males in a lower working class trying to struggle economically and socially (Spaaij, 2006). Their aggressiveness could not be totally blamed on the way the lower social class groups were integrated in the society. There is a tendency for lower working class in the society to generate some specific norms compared to the norms of those in the high levels of the society; these norms helps them to deal with high levels of aggression in areas where there are social relations and are prevalent in males (Dunning et al., 1988). The above explanation by the Leicester school of thought has been the most consulted concept and forms the basic platform to inquire into causes and behaviours of fans in football hooliganism. In addition, the concept laid the back ground to investigate the nature of hooliganism, and has inspired many scholars across Europe in the last two decades to base their studies on such a social perspective to understand the occurrence of hooliganism in football matches. However, some scholars have found this explanation not convincing and have made
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Football Hooliganism: Leicester School Perspective For many years, football hooliganism was known as the “British disease” due to the prevalence in which the vice had spread matches across Britain and was a great concern across Europe in general. UK, Germany, Holland and Italy have had the largest cases of hooliganism while other countries such as Greece, Denmark and Austria have had a fair share of the hooliganism (Marsh et al., 1996)…
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