From Fanzines to Foodbanks: football fan activism in the age of anti-politics

Daniel Fitzpatrick*, Paddy Hoey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article is concerned with an emerging trend in political participation: the role played by football fans in engendering activism and protest. The role of fan activism in the debate on patterns of civic and political (dis)engagement – in the age of so-called anti-politics – has been ignored by the scholarly literature thus far. As a corrective, this article examines the development of football fan activism over the last thirty years, since the creation of the English Premier League in 1992. It adopts a case study approach centred on supporters’ movements since 1992. It argues that the political activism of football fans has both quantitatively and qualitatively changed over this period. Employing the sociological theory of Manuel Castells it claims that collective identities developed in resistance to the commercialisation and commodification within football have developed into more distinct ‘project identities’ that seek bring about more profound social change through football.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1234-1252
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Issue number8
Early online date7 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (


  • fan activism
  • anti-politics
  • English Premier League
  • social movements
  • football


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