This paper examines how social mixing and celebration of diversity can be enabled through sports festivals marked by their carnivalesque atmosphere. Our analysis draws on a longitudinal ethnographic study of the Mondiali Antirazzisti (Anti-racist World Cup), a non-competitive football tournament and intercultural festival featuring the yearly participation of hardcore football fans (ultras), migrant groups, third-sector associations and other informal groups. We consider how the multifocal ritual form of the event helps to create a liminal space in which discrimination and stereotypes can be temporarily challenged. The sources of collective effervescence are multiplied by placing sport games within a wider range of other leisure and cultural activities, thus promoting internal diversity and the inclusion of outsiders. Additionally, social boundaries are also blurred by not emphasising the competitive dimension of the sporting activities, making sporting categorisations more fluid, and breaking down the separation between protagonists and spectators. Nonetheless, considering the transient character of liminality, we also investigate problems and limitations implied by the pursuit of these objectives. It is concluded that, despite a certain degree of self-referentiality, the festival fosters the spreading of anti-discriminatory cultures by enhancing the participants’ reflexivity and feeding their commitment in generating spin-off activities in different local contexts.

Keeping it liminal. The Mondiali Antirazzisti (Anti-racist World Cup) as a multifocal interaction ritual

STERCHELE, DAVIDE;SAINT-BLANCAT, CHANTAL
2013

Abstract

This paper examines how social mixing and celebration of diversity can be enabled through sports festivals marked by their carnivalesque atmosphere. Our analysis draws on a longitudinal ethnographic study of the Mondiali Antirazzisti (Anti-racist World Cup), a non-competitive football tournament and intercultural festival featuring the yearly participation of hardcore football fans (ultras), migrant groups, third-sector associations and other informal groups. We consider how the multifocal ritual form of the event helps to create a liminal space in which discrimination and stereotypes can be temporarily challenged. The sources of collective effervescence are multiplied by placing sport games within a wider range of other leisure and cultural activities, thus promoting internal diversity and the inclusion of outsiders. Additionally, social boundaries are also blurred by not emphasising the competitive dimension of the sporting activities, making sporting categorisations more fluid, and breaking down the separation between protagonists and spectators. Nonetheless, considering the transient character of liminality, we also investigate problems and limitations implied by the pursuit of these objectives. It is concluded that, despite a certain degree of self-referentiality, the festival fosters the spreading of anti-discriminatory cultures by enhancing the participants’ reflexivity and feeding their commitment in generating spin-off activities in different local contexts.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2827546
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