A Domain of Informality: Football in Serbia and Croatia

Sonia, Keith. 2023. A Domain of Informality: Football in Serbia and Croatia. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis argues that football represents an important domain of informality within both Serbia and Croatia. With acknowledgment that the study of informality lacks a consistent framework and otherwise requires a robust, multidimensional approach to analyses from different states, structures, processes, and individuals, the thesis employs Polese’s “flavours of informality,” specifically top politics, economic informality, and corruption, to demonstrate through multiple empirical examples that each state has been inundated with forms of informality for decades. The thesis then utilises case studies that demonstrate the entrenchment of informal processes and their interplay with football in each state. In Serbia, this is examined through an analysis of the relationship between elites and the leadership of certain football supporter groups and how that relationship compromises relevant state institutions. Through the case of the now deceased football supporters’ group leader Alexander Stanković, who enjoyed access to Serbian government officials and was regularly able to avoid incarceration despite evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the thesis illustrates how Serbia’s push to reform its judiciary is threatened by such informal ties. In Croatia, the most notorious man in football, Zdravko Mamić, who leveraged political connections to exploit Croatia’s privatisation and procurement processes, regularly exercised informal forms of power over the governance of football to coalesce control over the sport on behalf of himself and his network. The introduction of concepts of informality with that of football and politics & society in Serbia and Croatia represents an original approach to the study of both; the use of relevant examples and case studies satisfies the view that the study of informality requires a multifarious approach to generate greater understanding of its impact on local societies.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Serbia, Croatia, informality, football

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30 September 2023

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Date Deposited:

09 Oct 2023 12:52

Last Modified:

09 Oct 2023 13:00



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