Banter and the rise of LGBTQ+ Awareness in Football Cultures: A Bourdieusian Approach. 

Kevin Dixon, Jamie Cleland, Ellis Cashmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using data from a 2020 survey of 2,663 football fans, this paper explores their perspectives on LGBTQ+ language at UK men's football matches. Results revealed that 95 percent of participants expressed their support for LGBTQ+ players, challenging the assumption that football fans are homophobic. Paradoxically, 78 percent acknowledged encountering language with LGBTQ+ themes when attending stadiums but interpret this in contrasting ways: 41 percent as homophobic and 37 percent as playful, humorous ‘banter’, acknowledging the fine line between humor and offense. Additionally, 22 percent reported not hearing any such language. In this paper, we attempt to make sense of the inconsistency between the presence of seemingly liberal attitudes and the partial acceptance of illiberal banter from this sample. To reconcile this paradoxical position, we find utility in the work of Pierre Bourdieu and his theory of practice, with particular emphasis on the aspect of social transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalSoccer and Society
Early online date28 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2023


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