Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Support or nationalism?

England Car Flags LeedsThis is half an idea for a series of posts on the effect of the world cup on nationalism - and how that's coming across in traditional and new media.

It's come from seeing a couple of posts on Facebook expressing outrage at alleged attempts to stop England fans wearing their footy shirts for fear of upsetting those who aren't England fans. The posts I saw were fairly similar - one was a group and the other one of those cut and paste status update jobs... but I find it interesting. I saw another example in traditional media (the local rag) about a man "in talks" with Southampton City Council after he covered every inch of his council house with England flags. There's a moral debate here. Is the council infringing the rights of its tenant by asking him to take some of the flags down or is the tenant infringing the rights of his neighbours not to live next to an eyesore. Is the tenant truly fanatical in his support or is it a deliberate attempt to inflame tension under the guise of Freedom of Speech?

Tricky questions that depend not on the actions people have taken but their reasons for taking them. If I have questions I find that blogging sometimes helps. Here in no particular order are some of initial questions - if I see further examples in social media/ media I'll post further...

What's the basis of these groups/ posts on Facebook? Is there really a ploy by the police to stop people from wearing England shirts or is it a myth? If it's a myth, what's behind it? How do we evaluate information on social media - are we happy to join a group without checking the facts? Where is the line between nationalism and racism? Why do we link our national identity so closely to football - fair enough it's our national sport but does it sometimes  get blown out of context? Also, does social media sometimes show us a side of our friends and acquaintances that we'd rather not see? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

I think what interests me most is how social media makes this phenomenon different to past world cups - without wishing to get too political I'll post any further examples I
find just as a log of how this pans out over the next few weeks.

No comments:

Post a Comment