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Daniel Seabra

Importance and Limitations of the Leicester Group Theory towards the Comprehension of Delinquent Behaviour of Ultra Groups of Oporto

With this paper and the communication that will be presented, I will produce the results of an investigation about four Ultra groups that support the top three football clubs of Oporto, known in Portugal as claques. I intend to state the main reasons that allow me to consider the Leicester Group theory the best in order to understand the hooliganism and delinquent behaviour of some members of Ultra groups in Oporto. The main points of the theory will be compared with the corresponding empirical data that confirms it. There are 47 neighbourhoods in Oporto, which makes it the Portuguese city with the greatest number of these neighbourhoods. More than 20,000 people - 20% of the population of Oporto - live in this type of well-identified territory in urban space. Quantitative and qualitative data, obtained through participant observation, interviews, life stories and inquiry by questionnaire, reveal the presence of a social configuration that the Leicester Group proposes in order to explain football hooliganism. This data also allows me to confirm that delinquent behaviour and some violence that could be observed in a football context can be seen as a social reproduction of a delinquent course already present in everyday life. The limitations of the Leicester Group theory will also be considered. This investigation has found that these supporters have a strong sense of belonging to their community and to their city, which is also symbolically reproduced in football stadiums. Finally, I will propose the concept of social experience as an adequate concept to study this kind of social phenomenon.

Open access

Daniel Seabra

Abstract

The ultra-groups that support football clubs have been present in Portugal since the 1970s. Despite this support, performed with many chants and choreographies, the ultra-groups are reported mostly due to violent situations caused by their members. Based on an investigation of four ultra-groups that support football clubs in Oporto that was performed through lengthy observation, interviews, and surveys, this text highlights the characteristics of the dominant masculine profile present in these ultra-groups. The dimensions that allowed for the outline of this profile arise from theoretical perspectives reflecting gender and masculinity as an explanatory dimension of the aggressive behavior of hooligans and ultra-group members. These were briefly dealt in this text. They are composed of key features resulting from research about gender and masculinity in the Portoan ultra-groups, enabling their outlines. The physical and verbal violence, leadership profile, body display, homophobic discourse, and gendered exclusion expressed in the words, chants, and iconography of the ultra-groups allow for the definition of the key characteristics of the aggressive dominant masculine profile present in these Portoan ultra-groups.

Open access

Daniel Seabra

Abstract

The paper aims to demonstrate that violence is far from a regular practice in Ultra groups, despite its notorious visibility as transmitted by the media. The paper attempts to demonstrate that Ultra groups are a social space of leisure for young people, rather than a space for violence. Actually, having used observation through direct participation and having registered the discourses of Ultra group members, it is possible to demonstrate that life in these groups represents, for many, not only a break from difficult everyday life, but also the only and/or the most important moment of social leisure in their lives.

The object of this research was four Ultra groups who support the teams of Oporto City: Super Dragõe, Colectivo Ultras 95 (both support Futebol Clube do Porto), Panteras Ngeras (supporting Boavista Futebol Clube), and Alma Salgueirista (supporting Sport Comércio e Salgueiros). The research was based on observation through direct participation made among the groups over six years. Also conducted were 90 semi-structured interviews, 20 autobiographical narratives, and surveys (sample 206 for estimated n=1766).

Open access

Daniel Seabra

Abstract

The following text relates to a more recent approach to the problem of hooliganism and the Ultra Movement. It does not focus on a broad theory aimed to explain these two phenomena, but rather concentrates on the use of concepts that are relevant for a multifaceted understanding of them. Therefore, this text is the result of an investigation carried out on the four Ultra groups who support clubs in Oporto.

It aims to demonstrate how the social representation of Lisbon as the capital of Portugal and one of its clubs, Sport Lisboa and Benfica, influences not only the discourse used by the members of the four Portoan Ultra groups and the allusive clothing that they wear, but also the practices of their own groups inside and outside football stadiums. Included in these practices are the choreographies and banners that the Ultra groups display, as well as the chants they sing.

The research also showed that the social representation mentioned above legitimizes a strong rivalry towards with Sport Lisboa and Benfica and has the capacity to suspend conflicts between the Portoan Ultra groups and unite them in collective action, sometimes violent, against the Ultra groups and members of this club.