Black Chicken, White Chicken: Patriotism, Morality and the Aesthetics of Fandom in the 2008 African Cup of Nations in Ghana

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Abstract

This paper aims to analyse issues of representation, fandom and aesthetics in African football. The paper considers the representation of, by and for football fans through a number of images and overlapping discourses that emerged in the course of the African Cup of Nations in 2008. Among these, the most prevailing was a moral discourse that centred, as in the famous case of the Juju man analysed in this paper, on the role, activities and behaviour of Ghanaian fans. A number of different actors – including politicians, pastors, footballers and the fans themselves at home and in the diaspora – who were concerned with promoting a sense of patriotism and projecting an image of Ghana in the world stage as a nation of law-abiding, God-fearing, peaceful, and respectful citizens equally capable of celebrating, partying and organizing public events, reconstructed fandom in moral and aesthetic terms. In this paper I will concentrate on official and popular discourses through an analysis of media representation and through a number of ethnographic examples collected in the course of the tournament among a group of football fans in Kumasi and Accra and in a religious congregation in Kumasi. By doing so I aim to demonstrate how football fandom, both in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa, is central to the making and unmaking of morality, identity and subjectivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-276
Number of pages13
JournalSoccer & Society
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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