Our vision

The Institute of Fan Culture (IFF) sees value in the ability of academic research to develop solutions for political, social and economic trends, issues and problems on the basis of a rigorous establishment and analysis of facts rather than assumption and prejudice. The IFF’s interdisciplinary methodology and application of well-developed academic theory enhances this approach as well as its ability to model.
Fandom, the aligning of oneself with a sport team, constitutes one of the most public declarations of one’s own identity. Its social and political relevance is enhanced by the fact that sport teams are often identified with a political ideology or economic reality. Experience shows that there is substantial interest and demand for applied rigorous analysis of fan culture, a world that is in the public eye, attracts significant media attention and figures prominently in political discourse. Public debate about fan culture frequently suffers from a lack of informed analysis, is prone to distortion and conspiracy theory, frequently challenges principles of the rule of law and the notion of fair play in sports, and encourages adversity. As a result, the impact of fan culture on society and people’s lives makes transparent academic research mandatory.
The IFF’s research approaches fans in general and football fans in particular as upright members of society whose expression and experience of their fan identity has both positive and negative aspects rather than as people who are objects of research simply because they potentially constitute a threat to the peaceful and orderly organization of an event like a mega sports tournament. In addition to fact-based, empiric research, this approach involves criticism of sensationalist reporting and prejudice, the maintenance of principles of the rule of law such as innocent until proven guilty, and engagement with the media to help them uphold principles of fair, honest and objective yet hard hitting journalism. A critical analysis of media coverage is also important given its role in influencing fans‘ nationalist and other sentiments and the employment of sports celebrities as ambassadors who work to further the interests of a country or national government.