Mediated football communities? African football fans and the development of social solidarities across time
This paper looks to explore the relationship between football and community with reference to the activities of African fans. While, however, there is a particular emphasis placed on the role of media in allowing fans to follow their favourite teams, notably those from European leagues, we eschew the traditional approach to this topic, which has tended to emphasis a spatial dimension and theorise their activities through the lens of either cultural imperialism (Onwumechili & Oloruntola, 2014) or glocalisation (Akindes, 2011). Instead, we offer an alternative perspective by focusing on the temporal, rather than the spatial, in the development, and consolidation, of a sense of community. In other words, we are interested in how loyalty to a particular club, and solidarity with other fans, is built across time through the ongoing use of a variety of everyday, and often mediated, practices. These would include the regular watching of televised games in a variety of public and private settings but also the increasing use of a range of digital platforms to follow favourite players, clubs and leagues. Drawing on insight from wider work on community and time (Bastian, 2014), we use findings from analyses of social media feeds alongside interviews with fans based in Africa and Europe to demonstrate the importance of a wider media manifold (Couldry, 2012) in underpinning forms of social solidarity and community in relation to football.