free fight groups hooligans

Free fight groups and hooligans

Rozalie Lekkerkerk

This project aims to expand my prior research on the emergence and the dominant features of contemporary pre-arranged violent confrontations between rival hooligan formations in the Netherlands. Since no scientific research has paid attention to this specific type of confrontations so far, we are currently forced to rely on speculative media coverage when it concerns hooligan free fighting. While Dutch media and police statements indicate that these hooligan free fights are undesirable because of their unregulated, and severe violent character, I aspire to reveal why and how these so-called “forest fights” are able to attain a degree of organization and orderliness in fighting, accomplished by self-disciplined performers. By conducting interviews with members of different hooligan free fight groups and by approaching the phenomenon from an interactionist perspective in which group processes are central, this research eventually aims to offer an alternative view on the emotional meaning individual group members and hooligan formations attach to violence, and, as a consequence thereof, the possible outcomes of how violent situations can unfold.