I turned in my term paper for my Ethnic and Cultural Conflict class today (three days early!). I’m really pleased with how it turned out on its fourth iteration. It began as an examination of football clubs’ interactions as reflections of Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian relations with one another. Then it was how Croatian and Serbian football clubs’ interactions with each other and with European fans is reflective of the overall regional politics. Then it was how football violence in Croatia and Serbia is reflective of each country’s position in Europe. And finally it was what it is…
an explanation of contemporary Serbian politics using four football matches: Croatia/Serbia in March of last year (how Serbia is coping with its lingering resentments and learning to work with its traditional rival); Partizan/Tottenham in September (how the rise of the right is spurring anti-Semitism and homophobia in Serbia); Serbia/Albania in mid-October (how the Kosovo question is affecting Serbia’s relationship with the EU and why its transition has been so slow); and Partizan/Red Star at Halloween (how Serbia is allowing its ultras to destroy it from within).
Short version: all of Serbia’s current political troubles stem from using football ultras groups as paramilitary units during the Homeland and Bosnian Wars.*
It’s 15 pages of awesome. That I had to work for.
…good research will get you everywhere. If I hadn’t done the leg work, paring down enough to get a *good* paper into 15 pages would have been impossible.
*You’re either going to have to trust me on that or do the research yourself. I’ve done the work.