Erasmus University Rotterdam
Youth Culture and Media
What are the main characteristics of contemporary youth cultures and practices, and how are they represented in the media?
Lecturer: David Buckingham
The youth culture presented in this paper will be the football hooligans in Serbia. To start off, the way in which contemporary hooligan groups in Serbia are organized will be presented. These organization aspects will include the ways in which groups are structured, as well as how they are being financed. In addition to this, certain elements of the specific clothing style that this youth culture possesses for the sake of recognition and appearance will also be mentioned. Furthermore, by taking the war in Former Yugoslavia of the 1990’s as the focal point, certain causes and motives will be uncovered as to determine the degree of nationalistic, racist, and religious roots in the formation of the hooligan youth. The paper will include a majority of the activities that these hooligans participated in, while also trying to highlight certain little known positive ones (i.e. charity donations). Additionally, the role of media in depicting Serbian hooligans will be examined on the principle of how beneficial or detrimental has it been for the existence of the entire phenomenon. The media questioned will be the mainstream media such as television news programs and newspapers, because of their broad ranged impact on all levels of society. Finally, the issue of media misrepresentation will be looked at more closely, with a couple of relevant examples.
Serbian Hooligan Groups Organization and Style
In his article, Savkovic (2010) gives a detailed description of a contemporary Serbian hooligan group. His research was based on the two most famous groups of hooligans in Serbia, the FC Red Star Belgrade and FC Partizan Belgrade, teams whose rivalry Daily Mail (2009) hails as one of the Top 5 greatest and most dangerous ones in world football. Their hooligan groups can immediately be recognized as always occupying the first rows of a stadium, wholeheartedly singing the club’s anthems and provocative slants for the opposing team often without even looking at the events on the pitch. To some extent this fact serves as an example of their low-level of interest for the sport event itself, with them instead focusing on verbal and potentially physical conflicts. Off pitch, most of them, if not all, sincerely believe that the protests they’re expressing, including the violent ones, are a matter of personal choice when instead most of them have been carefully planned beforehand by the organization. Organization of a hooligan group in Serbia is strictly hierarchical, with their leader at the top being an influential persona in the club’s management decision-making processes as well. Savkovic (2010) notes that this designated leader is usually in strong ties with the organized crime parts of the city, facilitating the process of drug using and trafficking through the members of the hooligan group. Considering their average age being between 16-23, it is somewhat obvious that their peers in schools or neighborhoods present quite a viable target group of customers for these substances. Activities such as the above-mentioned drug trafficking ones, in addition to certain petty robberies, are usually the main source of income for the group. Money earned this way is then used for travels abroad, buying weapons or pyrotechnics, etc. As far as the visual appearance of the hooligans in Serbia is concerned, like their British and European counterparts, they are most often seen sporting sweatpants and sweatshirts emblazoned with the club’s symbols. However, based on certain personal experiences from my growing up in Serbia, one rather distinctive feature of a contemporary hooligan in Serbia is their shoes and the...