Cairo's Ultras: Resistance and Revolution in Egypts Football Culture

Cairo's Ultras: Resistance and Revolution in Egypts Football Culture

AUC Press

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Ronnie Close

The history of Cairos football fans is one of the most poignant narratives of the 25 January 2011 Egyptian uprising. The Ultras Al-Ahly and the Ultras White Knights fans, belonging to the two main teams, Al-Ahly F.C. and Zamalek F.C respectively, became embroiled in the street protests that brought down the Mubarak regime. In the violent turmoil since, the Ultras have been locked in a bitter conflict with the Egyptian security state. Tracing these social movements to explore their role in the uprising and the political dimension of soccer in Egypt, Ronnie Close provides a vivid, intimate sense of the Ultras unique subculture. 

Cairos Ultras: Resistance and Revolution in Egypts Football Culture explores how football communities offer ways of belonging and instill meaning in everyday life. Close asks us to rethink the labels fans or hooligans and what such terms might really mean. He argues that the role of the body is essential to understanding the cultural practices of the Cairo Ultras, and that the physicality of the stadium rituals and acerbic chants were key expressions that resonated with many Egyptians. Along the way, the book skewers media clichés and retraces revolutionary politics and social networks to consider the capacity of sport to emancipate through performances on the football terraces.

 


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