chants, identity and social resistance on Western Sydney terraces
Periódico / Revista
Football fans around the world chant together to generate a carnivalesque atmosphere as well as to proclaim their collective identity. This paper unveils the key social issues that are behind the chants of the most culturally diverse cohort of football fans in Australia, the Western Sydney Wanderers FC supporters. Using a theoretical approach based on the everyday to look at data gathered over two years of ethnographic fieldwork, the paper reveals how the lyrics of the chants and the noisy carnival of the Wanderers fans express their multicultural identity and their hopes for a non- conflictive community. The findings also demonstrate how the chants challenge mainstream fandom culture in the country and in so doing, express fans’ resistance to the constraints of the current social order. Additionally, the results show how the carnivalesque quality brought to Western Sydney by the chants enters the fans’ daily routine. Closing notes suggest that the methodology used in this research should be employed in different Australian sports codes to examine how multiculturalism is currently enacted in these sites. The paper concludes by proposing that, more than singing for the club, this multicultural cohort is chanting for themselves.
Keywords: carnivalesque, cultural gift, diversity, embodiment, ethnography, everyday multiculturalism, football chants, football fandom, football in Australia, Western Sydney