{work in progress}

Football, David Goldblatt once said, is a pretty good barometer of our global social condition. In taking that statement seriously, I set out to research and write a PhD thesis about the intersection of football Ultras, protest, and free labor. In short, I look at a fan culture (“Ultras”) that first emerged in Italian stadia during the politically, socially, and economically tumultuous days of the 1970s. I look at how their visual culture draws on this historical context, how they create a dynamic stadium atmosphere with their own labor (and often money), and how they use the same visual repertoire(s) when they protest. My thesis asks what the relationship between the billion Euro industry of football and these fans and their visual culture is? What significance do their protests have beyond football, in economies that are increasingly dominated by financial markets and trading in image, and images?

Hajduk Ultras at a friendly match in Blato, Korčula

The methodology for this research is primarily anthropological, drawing on visual anthropology to understand the images and their value as currency, and ethnography to guide a collaborative research with fans.

This blog is a medium to present this research in a way that activates the visual components. My PhD thesis must be submitted in a hard copy format that focuses on the text, and where images, if they are included, are static. Any other visual material must be link in footnotes. But it is important that these visuals take a more active role in relationship to the text. This reflects their importance in the Ultras culture and the production of stadium atmosphere, and it picks up on growing calls for protest research to center the visual as an active, living component of movements. With this in mind, I will be adding sections of the thesis here, so that images can become interactive, and placed in the text.

In addition, I have devoted a section to visuals, in which I curate pictures and video (including interviews) from my research and beyond. Finally, this site serves as a blog for general thoughts and comments on research, life, etc., and a deposit of some of the visual images I collect that are not part of my PhD.