The Ultras, the organized and ritualized fan organizations associated with professional soccer in Italy, exhibit a broad array of aesthetic and political behaviors. Given the latter, it is surprising that many researchers have studied the Ultras primarily as an aesthetic phenomenon, while others have concentrated on either the violent aspects of their behavior or the history and development of the phenomenon in general. While focusing on the ideological and historical elements that give substance to many Ultra behaviors, this paper, part of a larger project resulting from 15 months of anthropological fieldwork in Rome, Italy, from 2006 to 2008, seeks to explain how both the aesthetic and political facets of the Ultras operate within their agonistic culture. This agonistic culture, also thought of as a “culture of opposition,” has developed via knowledge of Counter-Enlightenment thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Julius Evola, and Georges Sorel, as well as immersion in the culture of Fascism, to produce the Ultras’ deep commitments to division, discrimination, and rivalry. Through these the aesthetic and political are rejoined, as the Ultras take oppositional stances to particular aspects of globalization and liberalization, both within and beyond the world of sport.
|Keywords:||Altruism, Counter-Enlightenment, Globalization, Italy, Militarism, Morality, Rome, Ultras, Violence|
Ph.D. Candidate, Cultural Anthropology, City University of New York, New York City, Atlanta, Georgia, USA