My name is Rozalie Lekkerkerk and I am affiliated with the University of Amsterdam as a PhD student of the Cultural Sociology program group, and as a group member of the Group Violence Research Project. I hold a bachelor's degree in Sociology and a master's degree in Cultural Sociology, both from the University of Amsterdam.
My interest in the interactional (and thereby emotional) dynamics of violent interactions developed while reading several inspiring works on violence during my bachelor studies. After reading, for example, Elias’ and Collins’ theories about violent behaviour, I became curious about how to apply – or perhaps ‘revive’ – such theoretical ideas within the (current) empirical reality of public violence. This aim of combining theory with empirical data first came to light in my bachelor thesis, in which I wrote how situational conditions can affect the emotional dynamics of youth violence. Then, during my masters, my ‘theoretical-empirical-research-brain’ was triggered by a phenomenon that was proclaimed in Dutch media as “modern hooliganism.” Since then (2016) I started researching the Dutch "football" hooligan scene, predominantly focusing on its new style practice of (what I refer to as) hooligan forest fighting.
The Group Violence research project aims to understand how group behaviour affects the likelihood and severity of violence in public space. While the prevailing social scientific focus remains on individual perpetrators and background factors, the empirical reality of public violence is one of multiple attackers, multiple victims and multiple bystanders. The research - funded by an ERC grant, received by Dr. D. Weenink - aims to further the study of violence with a novel theory that identifies how group behaviour affects the outcome of antagonistic situations – and with comparative empirical studies "to test" the theory.
Within this project, my PhD study aims to expand prior research on the Dutch football hooligan scene by predominantly focusing on its (new style) practice of hooligan forest fighting (also known as “hooligan free fighting” or “modern hooliganism”). I started researching this very dynamic and complex scene in 2016, and since then I try to get my head around the various levels of organization, coordination and (in particular) the regulation of different types of hooligan confrontations, wondering how and under what circumstances some hooligan fights culminate in violent encounters that are (relatively) controlled and able to offer a form of regulated competition that is similar to sport.
So, how do rival hooligan groups develop violent confrontations that can be seen as either more restrained and regulated ‘fair fights’ on the one hand, and less restrained and regulated ‘escalatory fights’ on the other hand? What kind of (group) dynamics tend to control and limit violent hooligan encounters, and what are the special circumstances which lead up to less controlled and escalatory violent behavior towards opposing hooligan groups? It is with this latter issues – the dynamics that lead to actual (hooligan) violence and determine in what manner confrontations unfold – that my study is concerned with.
I thereby suggest the idea that violent hooligan confrontations become regulated (or not) by means of specific social – intragroup and intergroup – dynamics that have not yet been studied through the (shared) emotional experiences and meanings of those who participate in different types of hooligan fighting. The degree of regulation is thus a variable; not all violent encounters amongst rival hooligan groups are of this sort, and in fact this variability is just what needs to be explained.
I teach the following courses
- Sociological Theory 1;
- Matching sociology;