I think that Social Psychology can only explain some of why football hooliganism happens; I don’t think it is the only reason. I think another main cause of football hooliganism is “over-excitedness”, and the fans just become immersed in the moment. This, when mixed with passion for the game, I think, is another vital cause for football hooliganism. To summarise I think“concoction” of passion and “over-excitedness”, and Social Identity Theory are the reasons football hooliganism occurs.
Social Identity Theory has a real world validity which is shown at football games as football hooliganism is common in some countries, such as Poland, and can be applicable to a lot of cases of football hooliganism. Social Identity Theory can be used to find out why there is violence at football games. Furthermore, A range of studies have shown support of the idea that people are willing to see their group as better in some way than other groups. Tajfel, for example, replicated his experiment with a variation to prove that his findings were reliable. There is also a practical application, in that the theory helps to explain a wide range of social phenomena, such as football hooliganism.
Social identity theory doesn’t take into account other factors which might be influencing behaviour, for example Dobbs and Crano in 2011 showed that under some circumstances there is much less in-group favouritism than suggested by Tajfel. The theory also doesn’t explain why there are individual differences in the level of prejudices shown. There are also other possible explanations of prejudice which might offer a fuller account of prejudice, for example the Realistic Conflict Theory which sees Social Identity Theory as only part of the explanation. It suggests that it is not just the creation of two groups that leads to prejudice, but that they need to have a goal in sight for conflict/prejudice to develop.
Secondly, there is a theory that when humans have their sense of humanity taken away from them, and they are in turn treated as if they are animalistic. This can be used to prove football hooliganism because they are in conflicting goals and therefore they are fighting like animals in order to receive the prize of a football victory.
In conclusion, I think that the use of Social Psychology can be used to understand and, more importantly, prevent football hooliganism. This is because the Police could use Social Identity Theory to understand what they needed to do in terms of policing the stadium, keeping peace and where to “shepard” the fans. This could possibly reduce the amount of prejudice and discrimination at a football match, and therefore, using Social Identity Theory, reduce the amount of football hooliganism. However, I believe that football hooliganism isn’t a result of just Social Identity Theory; I think passion for the game, as well as “over-excitedness” has a part to play too.