By Jan Andre Lee Ludvigsen | @ jaludvigsen
Dear all – my name is Jan Andre Lee Ludvigsen. Originally from Norway, I have completed most of my higher education in the UK. I completed my undergrad at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) in Sociology (2013-16), where I was introduced to the sociology of sport, before I started my Master’s degree four minutes up the road at the University of Liverpool (MA International Relations & Security). I graduated with distinction in December 2017 – and was fortunate enough to be offered a PhD scholarship at LJMU not long after, in January 2018, which I’ll start shortly and look forward to.
Since my PhD research is still at an early – and relatively formative stage – I will talk more broadly about my research interests in this introductory post, rather than outlining exactly what my PhD research will investigate. I like to say that I have three research interests if anyone asks me (which happens rarely, to be fair).
The most recent one – and fundamental for my proposed PhD research – is the relationship between sport mega-events (SME) and security. Although allocated security budgets (for SMEs) have escalated significantly following 9/11 – security/SMEs remains under-researched and several scholars – perhaps most notably Giulianotti and Klauser – have called for more attention dedicated this Security/SME nexus. In recent years, we have also seen terrorist attacks target sport events (i.e Boston marathon, Stade de France), whilst the Euro 2016 in France unfortunately gave a ‘good’ indication on one of the (numerous) dark sides of football, namely supporter violence. This, I believe, illustrates the importance of, and why we should continue researching this area – as sport events should be arenas for celebrations, excitement and historical moments, rather than fear and anxiety.
I am particularly interested in how visitors of SMEs perceive their own safety and the security dynamics throughout events. This, of course, in relation to the common security issues at SMEs such as terrorism, spectator violence, crime, discrimination and mass crowds.
The PhD research will focus on the upcoming 2020 European Championship, which for the first time (maybe the only time, too) will be played across the ‘whole’ European continent (12 countries), but I also have a forthcoming paper which looks at this year’s World Cup and the quite extraordinary risk landscape we will see in Russia, enhanced by a tense political situation and trends within terrorism and spectator violence, combined with socio-cultural factors.
Secondly, I have conducted some research on aspects of the globalization processes we have seen in the English Premier League. A study I did for my undergrad dissertation on the EPL’s ‘foreign ownerships’ and local fans was published in Soccer & Society not too long ago. Here, I examine how what is perceived to be local Liverpool fans talk about the club’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group, in an online-setting. At the time, the perceptions among the fan-base were not too bad – but I suspect that the recent sale of Phillipe Coutinho to Barcelona may have impacted – and perhaps outdated this study to some degree. However, the study is definitely worth having a look at if you find overseas investors in the PL interesting.
I have also carried out some research on Norwegian Liverpool fans (transnational & ‘authentic’ fandom) that I am hopeful will be out fairly soon. Thirdly – and less relevant to the Football Collective – I find drones as counterterrorism tools academically interesting. Especially the effectiveness of drone campaigns and its unintended consequences. Some of my work on drones has been accepted and published in terrorism/conflict journals such as Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict and Defense & Security Analysis. Even though it may not look like it from an outsiders’ point of view, my two ‘other’ research interests ‘benefit’ my PhD topic. Undoubtedly, having previously conducted research on football fans (main visitors of the Euros) and having a background from Security Studies and knowledge about terrorism (main threat to SMEs), helps to some degree – and is why I tend to say to those asking that my three research interests are somewhat interconnected (although still… I am virtually never asked about this).
Other than that, I do of course possess a non-academic interest in football, although my playing career in recent years only involves a few student five-a-side games.
Hopefully, I can contribute with another update in form of a blog post for the Collective as my PhD research gets started and gradually progresses – and I am indeed looking forward to read about how fellow members get on with their interesting researches, as well as to take part in upcoming events where I get the chance to meet and network with people who share my footballing interest.
Jan André tweets at @jaludvigsen