Nationalism, Identity, and Fan Relationship Building in Barcelona Football Club

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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Historically, Barcelona Football Club (BFC) has represented one of the pillars of Catalan identity, which earned it the slogan “more than a club.” In recent times, especially under the presidency of Joan Laporta, management has radicalized the club’s political positions by using BFC as a platform to openly promote the independence from Spain of the Catalan region. Despite the fact that most Barcelona fans in Catalonia, as well as in the rest of Spain, have much more moderate political positions, the radicalization of BFC does not appear to have eroded the relationship-building process with Barcelona fandom. This article argues that BFC as an institution still maintains a good relationship with its fans because the social, as well as individual, identity provided by allegiance to a soccer club such as BFC is ultimately more important to members and fans than the club’s political positions.

The author is with the Dept. of Communication, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA.

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