Keynote this week at Football Conference, Limerick

I’m travelling over to Limerick today to be part of an exciting conference on the sociologies of football and music:

The Football Collective Conference Limerick 23-24 November 2017

I’ll be speaking about the power of metaphor in football music and conflict.

Football is rich in metaphor and rich in social belonging and division. My particular interest is of course in the songs and chants in football and in the culture surrounding it, and certainly for the research leading up to this conference I’ve noticed a few key conceptual metaphors in football music and chanting:

Other as Diseased

Verticality Metaphor: Up is Good

And of course, the classic football metaphor:

Football is War

These conceptual domain mappings structure much of the sectarianism in and around football cultures, and what has been fascinating has been to see just how deeply embodied these metaphors are in relation to our bodies.

If only we got football songs today as good as this Chaz and Dave exegesis on the ‘Football is War’ metaphor!

Hopefully published soon, I’d love to hear from you if you’re doing anything related, here’s the abstract:

‘Kicking metaphors of the body around in the mediation of Self and Other’


Football and music are both ubiquitous in contemporary society, and similarly ubiquitously devalued in the humanities and social sciences. This rests upon both their very vernacular omnipresence in our culture, but also is the result of deeper shared connection to our somatic presence in the world. The practice of sport is fundamentally a somatic practice, as much as music is a sonic practice; both set apart from the dominant linguistic and textual currency of the humanities and social sciences. Part of the power of football and its songs, chants and tunes is in its double-sided agency to construct social belonging and division. The power of gendered, racial, ethnic and political constructions of Self and Other do not simply emerge in text and talk but for football and music, are deeply embedded in our somatic sense of Self and the visceral connection to others. This is reflected in the plural and disjointed disciplinary locations of football and music within the academy, neither a discipline, yet both vital everyday practices in our lives. Focusing in on the metaphorical use of somatic or embodied multimodal discourse can reveal some important connections between our embodied Self, and crucially, how we construct social distance between our Selves and Others. I argue that this attention to the metaphorical and somatic discourse of songs, chants and tunes about football can reveal the deeply felt, visceral agency of our bodies and should that these sorts of everday cultural expressions of Self and Other should be at the centre of disciplinary understandings of society, gender, race, and politics both precisely because of their ubiquity but also because of what they reveal about our socially constructed embodied lives.




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