Georg Simmel became one of the first sociologists to attempt to analyze street life' during the late part of the nineteenth century and early part of the twentieth century. Amongst his papers, he wrote The Metropolis and Mental Life' in which he outlined and tries to explain how a cities environment skews its inhabitant's mental state. Living in Berlin for most of his life, he had a first class case study on his doorstep with it being a leading city in the western world. Although this paper may have been written over a hundred years ago, it remains relevant to today's society with the same problems of stress and anxiety still present. However, the ways in which these nuisances manifest themselves has changed considerably alongside people's attitudes and surroundings. To answer the question above, I found it necessary to pinpoint a certain area of contemporary existence' to prevent this thesis becoming vague.
[...] Although a metropolis may provide an unlimited amount of people to interact with, as Simmel says “nowhere feels as lonely and lost as in the metropolitan crowd”. By bringing large amounts of people together in events such as football matches produces unpredictable results. Zimbardo supports Simmel's theory when he says larger the group, the less likelihood there is of being recognized and therefore the more extreme behavior”. This is a situation that the football hooligan takes full advantage of. Although the technology of CCTV may have made this less likely, it seems still to be able to partake in football violence and not to get caught. [...]
[...] Despite two Englishmen dying in a foreign country, the media somewhat overlooked this tragic fact and went straight for the jugular of football by condemning its comparatively small hooligan contingent. Whether or not the two victims were looking for trouble or not, these are people who have family and friends and deserve some dignity in death. Simmel backs this reaction up when he says, incapacity thus emerges to react to new sensations with the appropriate energy” (Simmel 1950). This also supports the notion that there is such a thing as the ‘metropolitan temper' where there is a lack of sympathy for another urbanite. [...]
[...] A good example would be the East End of London, home to West Ham United and their ground Upton Park. A well known figure within hooligan culture, Cass Pennant says “Take the East End they've all been born to fight, it's the way to survive you learn young to survive.” (Hooligan 2002) Being a top member of the notorious I.C.F. (West Hams Inter City Firm), Pennant has had to show strength to become the revered figurehead he is amongst supporters today. [...]
[...] Simmel says how the “brevity and infrequency of meetings” (Simmel 1950) means that an appearance has to make a striking impression and this sort of attire certainly helps. By wearing these kinds of outfits, hooligans automatically intimidate. The same kind of theory can be applied to other culture movements such as punk and Goth. The fashion may have changed in more modern times but the same rule still applies. An alternative theory that would help to explain this disregard for their team's colors may be explained by the relationship between image and the grip that money has on the ‘metropolitan mind'. [...]
[...] With football being the most popular spectator sport in Britain (approximately 4-5 million attending a year) (University of Leicester 2002), it seems to be the perfect way to form a widespread bond amongst the public. Of course, it isn't as simple as that. Football is split into hundreds of different teams ranging from the Manchester United- types to local pub sides that all draw in varying crowds. This creates a problem in terms of rivalry. Whether it is healthy or not, by supporting a particular team, there will always be somebody else trying to beat you on the pitch. [...]
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