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Dr Jack Fawbert, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, at the University of Bedfordshire, has completed his research study, entitled ‘Representations of Change; Community, Culture and Replica Football Shirts’, which explores the social symbolism of football shirts  

The first study into the meanings people attach to replica football shirts and why they wear them is about to be published.

Dr Jack Fawbert, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, at the University of Bedfordshire, has completed his research study, entitled ‘Representations of Change; Community, Culture and Replica Football Shirts’, which explores the social symbolism of football shirts

He examined what shirts, their designs, sponsors and colours mean to football fans, how they 'read' them, how they interpret them and how they use them to signify their support for teams. He also looked at what the shirts signify about fans in the context of support for particular clubs and the social milieu of those clubs.

He examined what shirts, their designs, sponsors and colours mean to football fans, how they 'read' them, how they interpret them and how they use them to signify their support for teams. He also looked at what the shirts signify about fans in the context of support for particular clubs and the social milieu of those clubs.

Dr Fawbert explains: "In recent years, profound changes have taken place within the game and within football fandom. In the past, fans regarded their local football teams as representatives of their local working-class communities. Now it seems there are new sensibilities pervading the game and it can be argued that fans relate to their clubs less organically now and more as consumers, and the most visible object of consumption is the club replica football shirt."

His main research focuses on West Ham, not only because he’s a die-hard fan, but because he believes West Ham is one of the best examples of a community-focused football club that represents particular values.

He said: "Even though the old East End communities have broken down and many West Ham supporters live more than 50 miles away, going back to watch West Ham play and wearing a football shirt is a magical way of recapturing their community.

"For those who have no connection with the East End, it may be the style of football that West Ham play, something they have become famous for, that first attracted them to supporting the club, but it isn’t necessarily what sustains their support. These supporters also yearn for a community.

"In our postmodern society, community is not something that should necessarily be understood by clearly recognisable geographical limits. Today, people pick and choose, and mix and match from identities available in the lifestyle marketplace, which have replaced the old working-class communities. It is a kind of do-it-yourself tribal culture and replica football shirts can be seen as signifiers of such cultural groupings."

During his research Dr Fawbert interviewed West Ham fans based in the East End as well as the Northern Hammers, an established fan base in the North of England, and spoke to kit manufacturers and replica shirt designers, Reebok. These interviews gave an in-depth look at the political economy of replica football shirts and the strange economics of British football where basic market economics do not apply.

He also examined the growing obsession of the cult of celebrity and young people who buy and wear shirts for their celebrity value, such as the Beckham Manchester United number seven shirt, which he argued, makes meanings of shirts even more ambiguous for the fan in a globalised, celebrity-dominated, postmodern world.

He concluded there have been changes in the extent to which fans express their identities through commodities like football shirts, such as social class and to a lesser extent community, but the connotations of West Ham shirts for fans are still class, community, commitment, pride and a sense of history and tradition.

http://www.beds.ac.uk/news/2007/aug/070808-football

 

 

 

Comments (5)

  1. fsc

dat fool is fat :woohoo:

 
  1. Guest

that is actually very nice

 
  1. Guest

id buy it might like it a bit more if it was still adidas

 
  1. August

very very nice shir:yes:

 
  1. Guest

Great shirt n i h8 liverpool except torres obviously: :smilewinkgrin: :eek::

 
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