It’s been a very long time since I’ve spotted an article in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law that I’ve wanted to read (is it just me or has it been incredibly dull over the last few issues?). But here’s one that sounds interesting, appears theoretically sound and of practical value:
This paper contributes to the science of crowd dynamics and psychology by examining the social psychological processes related to the relative absence of “hooliganism” at the Finals of the 2004 Union Européenne de Football Association (UEFA) Football (Soccer) Championships in Portugal. Quantitative data from a structured observational study is integrated with data from a questionnaire survey of a group associated ubiquitously with ‘hooliganism’ – namely England fans. This analysis provides support for the contention that the absence of ‘disorder’ can be attributed in large part to the non-paramilitary policing style adopted in cities hosting tournament matches. Evidence is presented which suggests that this style of policing supported forms of non-violent collective psychology that, in turn, served to psychologically marginalise violent groups from the wider community of fans. The study highlights the mutually constructive relationships that can be created between psychological theory, research, policing policy and practice, particularly in relation to the successful management of ‘public order’. The paper concludes by exploring some of the wider implications of this research for theory, policy, the management of crowds, social conflict, and human rights more generally.
Clifford Stott, Otto Adang, Andrew Livingstone and Martina Schreiber (2008). Tackling Football Hooliganism: A Quantitative Study of Public Order, Policing and Crowd Psychology. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 14(2):115-141