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‘To us it’s still Boundary Park’: Fan discourses on the corporate (re)naming of football stadia

Gillooly, Leah and Medway, Dominic and Warnaby, Gary and Roper, Stuart (2021) ‘To us it’s still Boundary Park’: Fan discourses on the corporate (re)naming of football stadia. Social and Cultural Geography. ISSN 1464-9365

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Abstract

This paper explores how the corporate (re)naming of football stadia and their urban environs is negotiated through fans’ toponymic discourses and associated commemoration. Critical toponymy research emphasises oppositional toponymic tensions between sovereign authorities and citizens, which can result in competing inscriptions of space. Adopting a quasi-ethnographic approach, we reveal a more complex picture by exploring the variegated toponymic discourses of football fans. The findings demonstrate intricate entanglements in how fans reluctantly accept a corporate stadium name, yet also actively resist it through counter-performative utterances, often imbued with commemorative intent. Alternatively, fans passively ignore a corporate stadium name, using a former toponym in quotidian and habitual speech. We conclude by considering the implications of these findings for the influence of corporate power in urban toponymic inscription.

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