This thesis examines the desire for inclusion in association football amongst minority ethnic communities in England. The thesis is based on two case studies informed by semi-structured qualitative interviews. These case studies focus on two minority ethnic groups, the Asian community in Bury and the black community in the City of Liverpool, and the relationship of these respective communities with local professional football clubs (specifically Bury FC and Everton FC). The thesis notes that despite, by most objective measures, football grounds being less dangerous places to visit nowadays, members of minority ethnic groups continue to reject live spectatorship. Such rejection exists despite evidence of engagement in football amongst the male members of these minority ethnic groups. Asian respondents expressed little civic pride in Bury or interest in Bury FC, and thus their rejection of spectatorship opportunities was unconscious. Data from black respondents identified widespread sense of belonging and identification with the City of Liverpool, but conscious rejection of spectatorship at Everton FC. Despite recognition of the clubs anti-racist work black respondents argued that the idea persists that Everton are institutionally racist with racist fans. While such a perception had also previously been ascribed to Liverpool FC (Everton s near neighbours), such perceptions had changed quicker at Liverpool FC, who appear more effective at attracting minority ethnic spectators. A number of factors emerged that contribute to the continued rejection of spectatorship amongst British minority ethnic groups at professional football clubs. One of these is the perception that football clubs are unwelcoming places and white spaces . Fear of racism and fear of violence were also often cited although these were found not to be absolute in nature for either minority ethnic group. Indeed, evidence from both groups found that they are developing their own we image rather than internalising their own group disgrace , though it is also argued that Elias and Scotson s notion of two groups, the established (white s) and the outsiders (blacks), is too simplistic and a more fluid conceptualisation is called for. Overall, the data illustrated that the identities of members of minority ethnic groups are complex, multifunctional, context specific and fragmented and thus so are their relationships with football.
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Reference : Whiteside, D. (2011). Desire for inclusion in association football amongst minority ethnic communities in England: PhD Thesis. Loughborough: Loughborough University. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2134/9060
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