Fluid post-modern neo-tribes: a case study of the West Perth Cheer Squad (Australian Rules football), 1984-1986

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In this article I apply Armstrong’s anthropological approach to soccer hooliganism studies to our 20-member West Perth unofficial cheer squad (hard-core supporter group) of 1984-86 (Australian Rules football’s WAFL competition). I find that the anthropological approach is able to explain many aspects of our cheer squad’s culture and members’ behaviours including the quick disintegration of the cheer squad early in the 1986 season without anyone officially ending it. Theoretically Marsh’s definition of “aggro” as “the illusion of violence” seems to almost perfectly describe and explain the tough posturing but generally peaceable behaviour of our West Perth cheer squad. It also well explains our group members’ partly sub-consciously adopted submissive attitude towards the Swan Districts’ supporters at Bassendean Oval in 1985 and their response to that submission (and their team’s win) which was to quietly walk away, their job done. They enforced the total authority of Swan Districts’ fans over every square-centimetre of Bassendean Oval without a punch being thrown.
Original languageEnglish
Article number555621
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Physical Fitness, Medicine & Treatment in Sports
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2018


  • Aggro
  • Australian Rules football
  • Australian Rules football cheer squads
  • Football hooliganism
  • Illusion of violence
  • Neo-tribes
  • Perth history
  • Sports history
  • Western Australian football
  • Western Australian history


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