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"They seem to think we're better than you": Framing football support as a matter of 'national identity'

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2011
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Number of pages19
Original languageEnglish


Within social psychology, studies of the nation have typically been understood in terms of national identity. Criticisms have been made of the tendency to conflate ‘being’ a member of a national category with psychological attachment to the group and its members.Furthermore, ethnomethodologically informed approaches have argued that little has been said about when and how social actors frame matters as one of national identity. Taking the example of national football support, this study considers the circumstances under which football may be cast as a matter of national identity, and when such ascriptions are resisted. Interviews were conducted with participants born and resident in England and Scotland, whereas in Scotland national football support is treated as a matter of national identity for Scottish and English people, in England it is separated from a collective sense of English identity. Adopting a discursive analytic stance, this study examines the internal and external attribution of national stereotypes and considers their role in managing issues of social causality, justification of in-group behaviour, and the differentiation of national groups.