Purity and Danger: Policing the Italian Neo-Fascist Football Ultras

Criminal Justice Studies, 2010

31 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2016

See all articles by Alberto Testa

Alberto Testa

University of West London - Ealing Law School

Date Written: September 2, 2010


The rise of the Far-Right in Europe over the past decade has attracted the attention of both academics and police. Popular sports tend to reflect societal trends so it is not bizarre that a popular European cultural practice such as football has seen a rise in supporters with neo-fascist sympathies. Football (Soccer in the USA), specifically in Italy, has been linked since the beginning to politics (Porro, 2001; 2008 ) and its stadiums have always been one of the most efficient public Agorá for the socialization of the Italian youth. In recent years, together with an ideologisation of the football terraces, there has been a noticeable increase in conflict between hardcore Football supporters and the Italian police at and around the stadium. These conflicts often involve the UltraS as the main participants. The final capital S identifies neo-fascist oriented fans, distinguishing them from mainstream hardcore Football supporters, known as ultrá (Testa and Armstrong 2008; Testa 2009; Testa and Armstrong 2010). This paper is the result of ethnographic research lasting six years (2003 to 2009). The research aimed to investigate the world of the UltraS by using two notorious national and international UltraS as case study. The groups, the Boys and the Irriducibili, support the AS Roma and SS Lazio, respectively. Both are located in the Italian capital city of Rome. The present paper aims to investigate the relationship between the neo-fascist Ultras and the institutions that they identify as their enemies namely the Italian State and the police.

Keywords: ultras, Italy, Police, Neo-fascism, hooliganism, football

Suggested Citation

Testa, Alberto, Purity and Danger: Policing the Italian Neo-Fascist Football Ultras (September 2, 2010). Criminal Justice Studies, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2733317

Alberto Testa (Contact Author)

University of West London - Ealing Law School ( email )

St Mary's Road
London, W5 5RF
United Kingdom

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