Masculine love and sensuous reason: the affective and spatial politics of Egyptian Ultras football fans

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Hasso, FS

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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article uses a feminist spatial approach attentive to masculine affect and difference to analyze the language, cultural production, and practices of the two largest Ultras football fan groups in Egypt–White Knights (affiliated with Zamalek Sporting Club) and Ahlawy (affiliated with Al-Ahly Sporting Club)–both established in 2007. Egyptian Ultras cultivate embodied passion, joy, love and anger. By excluding girls and women, the Ultras reflect the sexism that permeates Egyptian social and political life. However, sexism does not appear to be the most important reason for Ultras homosociality and misogyny is not particularly relevant to their practices and cultural oeuvre. The Ultras do not encourage sexual attacks on girls and women, let alone boys and men, and explicitly discourage sectarianism and racism. Ultras groups in Egypt, I contend, offer a masculine alternative to a government that represents itself as a militarist ‘factory of men’. As they battle state efforts to control space and reinforce the dominant order, their practices challenge rationality/affect and mind/body binaries, as well as divisions between street/stadium and corporate/commons. Informed by fieldwork in Egypt, the article uses semiotic and discursive methods to analyze hundreds of Ultras’ images, songs, chants, Facebook pages, and live performances on multiple sites, as well as scholarly sources in Arabic and English and a book-length Arabic account about the Ultras in Egypt by the founder of the Ultras White Knights.





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Hasso, FS (2018). Masculine love and sensuous reason: the affective and spatial politics of Egyptian Ultras football fans. Gender, Place and Culture, 25(10). pp. 1423–1447. 10.1080/0966369X.2018.1531830 Retrieved from

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Frances S. Hasso

Professor of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies

I am a Professor in the Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at Duke University with secondary appointments in the Department of History and Department of Sociology.  I taught in and directed the International Comparative Studies Program at Duke from 2010-2015 and was a member of the Oberlin College faculty from 2000-2010. I am Editor Emerita (2015-2018) of the Journal of Middle East Women's Studies. I have been a National Humanities Center fellow, an ACOR fellow, a Rockefeller fellow, and an SSRC/ACLS fellow. My research has additionally been supported by the National Science Foundation, American Sociological Association, Woodrow Wilson National National Fellowship Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Palestinian American Research Center, the Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (Leiden), The Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Endowment, and Duke Arts & Sciences Faculty Committee Research Grants. My latest book, Buried in the Red Dirt: Race, Reproduction and Death in Modern Palestine, is released from Cambridge University Press as a Creative Commons Open Access monograph. Many of my publications are accessible open access through my personal website I can be reached at

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