The Revival of Regional Identity: The Example of the Social Environment of the “Zagłębie” Sosnowiec Football Club Cover Image

Odradzanie się regionalnej tożsamości. Na przykładzie społecznego otoczenia klubu piłkarskiego „Zagłębie” Sosnowiec
The Revival of Regional Identity: The Example of the Social Environment of the “Zagłębie” Sosnowiec Football Club

Author(s): Paweł Ćwikła
Subject(s): Sports Studies
Published by: Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: identity; regionalism; “us-versus-them” mentality; community; social dimension of football; Zagłębie Dąbrowskie; tradition

Summary/Abstract: Zagłębie Dąbrowskie is an area adjacent to Upper Silesia. Many publications have been devoted to Silesian identity, but few works have been dedicated to the identity of the inhabitants of Zagłębie. Special exponents of this identity are the fans of the “Zagłębie” football club, who are in a sort of permanent conflict with the fans of Silesian clubs. The formers’ demonstrations of support for their team are based on strong appeals to regional identity. The aim of this article is to draw attention to the importance of the symbolic sphere associated with the club, and to highlight the social, cultural, and historical dimension of regional identity. When fans proclaim “we are Zagłębie,” they mean much more than a metaphorical expression of selfidentification. They consider themselves to be guardians of the club symbols and name, and this is one of the reasons for the numerous internal and external conflicts that occur. The functioning of the club is anchored in regional tradition (as well as in inter-regional relations, particularly in regard to the Upper Silesian vicinity, both at the sports level and in many other spheres), and reference to it is one of the pillars of the communal functioning of its most passionate fans. The dynamic has meant, among other things, that they were transformed from the community they had earlier formed into an association; from a community supporting an institution, they have become an institution requiring support. This happened during one of the local soccer crises when the fans decided to create their own rival club “Zagłębie 1906 Sosnowiec.”

  • Issue Year: 225/2017
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 109-135
  • Page Count: 27
  • Language: Polish