My previous project (2016) was a cultural history of localism and football clubs from Guelders, conducted at Radboud University Nijmegen. The project has resulted in a Dutch-language and an English-language article. The English-language article appeared in Urban History and will be available for free some time in the future (see publications). The Dutch-language article appeared in the Yearbook of the Guelders Society at the end of 2016, and can be downloaded here:
What was the aim of the project?
I wanted to study the historical connection between three football clubs – De Graafschap, Vitesse and N.E.C. – and their city/region. To do this, I researched the (self-)image of clubs and their supporters, and the relationships between these actors, looking into the role played by inter-club rivalries.
Sport is often seen as way to experience, but also create, social cohesion. This also gives room to processes of in- and exclusion. Club identification automatically creates an ‘out-group’, something that becomes very apparent when comparing different clubs and their mutual relationships.
Football may seem like a mundane topic, but the enormous meaning people often give to this ‘game’ means that to study popular sports is to study something of importance. Supporting a club helps groups tell a story about who they want to be; a testament to the significance of ‘leisure’ to human history.
- The project’s supervisors were Professor Marjet Derks and Professor Dolly Verhoeven.
- I have given several lectures on the topic of this project. See presentations.