Asabiyya and Football Fans

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In this paper I analyse the phenomenon of supporting a football (soccer) team in the light of Ibn Khaldun’s one of key dialectical concepts, namely asabiyya which plays a central role in his philosophy of history. For Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), every social activity needs asabiyya which at the most basic level carries a sense of group feeling and solidarity. Depending on the stage in which it is effective, asabiyya might have constructive as well as destructive roles as far as social processes or organizations are concerned. A study of Ibn Khaldun’s use of asabiyya in politics and history will reveal clearly that it will be interesting to apply this concept to many aspects of football. Thus my application of asabiyya to football will involve notions like football fan, cheerleader, fan identity, fanaticism, hooliganism, as well as the idea of football as a religion with its own icons, rituals, idols, heroes, holy wars, mercenaries and martyrs. In addition, I will also discuss relevant power relations (inside or among teams, clubs and national teams).


Keywords: Ibn Khaldun, Asabiyya, Football, Identity
Stream: Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Ali Caksu

Head, Department of Philosophy, Fatih University
Istanbul, Turkey

I was born in Istanbul in 1969. I graduated from the department of political science and international relations at Bogazici University, Istanbul (1991). I had my M.A. in Islamic thought (1993) and Ph.D. (1999) in philosophy at ISTAC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My Ph.D dissertation is titled "Causality in History: Ibn Khaldun’s and Hegel’s Transformation of Aristotelian Causes." I worked in 2000-2006 as a consultant, editor and conference organizer at the OIC Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (ISTAC). Currently I chair the department of philosophy at Fatih University, Istanbul.

Ref: H08P0053