Discordant fandom and global football brands: 'let the people sing'

Paul Hewer, Martin Gannon, Renzo Cordina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
210 Downloads (Pure)


This article has three main objectives. Our first is to turn to sport as a particularly illuminating and revealing example of consumer culture in the making. Marketplace logic suffuses consumer culture, and exploring practices of fandom as performed thus becomes particularly revealing of the tensions and contradictions which are thrown up when passions collide with finance and branding strategies. Our second objective is to mobilise this insight to further research on brand communities through better situating social practices as entangled in this heady nexus of passions, power and cultural politics. Through a netnographic analysis of forum posts from Celtic Football Club’s notorious ‘Green Brigade’ ultras-style fan-group, we focus on how such social formations forge counter-identities, which act not in harmony with the larger brand ethos but serve to legitimate and affirm a counter-philosophy. As such, our final objective is to better understand the roles of brand agitator and brand heretic as key roles within this contested social formation. Fandom as dramatic ritual and social drama brings in its wake contradictions and tensions especially when it goes toe-to-toe with the forces of economics, branding and marketing strategy. Here, a counter-brand community as we reveal mobilises marketplace logic and appears to adopt their own practices of mimicking brand strategising for their own ends, or as they assert, ‘Let the people sing’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-619
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
Issue number3
Early online date18 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • discordant fandom
  • rebels with a cause
  • cultural politics
  • brand agitator
  • brand heretic


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