Troublesome Thugs or Respectable Rebels? Class, Martyrdom and Cairo’s Revolutionary Ultras
This ethnographic article explores the politics of Egypt's Ultras football supporters. The Ultras have frequently been heralded as some of the Egyptian Revolution's most prominent rebels, in particular, after the Port Said stadium massacre in February 2012, when 72 Ultras members were killed. However, this essay focuses on the earlier phase of violent clashes in central Cairo when the Ultras were highly ambivalent about the ongoing protests. As the article shows, the fan groups were hesitant to join the demonstrations, which at the time were heavily associated with "thuggery" (balṭaga). Only after the death of one of its members did the Ultras whole-heartedly take on their rebellious subjectivity.
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