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A por ellos!: racism and anti-racism in Spanish football

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Racism at Spanish football grounds is commonly perceived to be confined to the racist or neo-fascist predispositions of the archetypal skinhead hooligan. This narrow view of racism thwarts contemporary anti-racism initiatives since it conceals other, less visible forms of racialized expressions in football. The current official and public concern over racist behaviour in Spanish football provides opportunities for promoting anti-racism in football, but only if the serious limitations of the prevailing identification of racists with ultras are acknowledged. Paradoxically, many of the ultra groups popularly stigmatized as racist thugs are, in fact, a driving force behind the anti-racism projects and campaigns currently being implemented.

Keywords: Spain; football; prevention; racism; xenophobia

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Amsterdam. 2: University of Barcelona.

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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