Ultras in Spain: A Study on the Relationship Between Macro-level Cleavages and Micro-level Actors.
Westby, David K.
- This thesis examines the relationship between macro-level ideological cleavages and micro-level communities. It concentrates on the condensation of key cleavages into a rhetorical frame that is shaped through historical processes from above, and through reimagination and performance from below. The Spanish ultras represent a case study in the simultaneity of the top-down and bottom-up pressures on... read morethe rhetorical frame, which I call the mezzo-level. Ultras are radical football fans characterized by intense support of a club team and violent interactions. In Spain, ultras are defined by their political ideology, which generally falls on either side of a binary between fascism and antifascism. Using qualitative analysis, I demonstrate how the unique ideological network of the Spanish ultra phenomenon is evidence of both a reflection of historical macro-cleavages and a constructive influence on these cleavages. I show how both historical and ultra dialogue, which I define as a process including public discourse, political discussion, and violent interactions, affect the critical societal macro-cleavages. I situate this paradigm for political identity construction within existing scholarship as an amalgamation of Marxist, instrumentalist, and constructivist schools of thought.read less