Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Miguel Centellas

Second Advisor

María J. Garcia Otero

Third Advisor

Oliver Dinius

Relational Format



This thesis centers on the construction of ethnic identities for fans of Athletic Club and Celtic F.C. and the two clubs’ roles in evincing nationalism. Utilizing survey data from an online, anonymous survey posted to fan forums, the research aimed to determine which of the three leading theories of ethnicity—primordialism, instrumentalism, or social constructivism—was most applicable to the formation of identities for Basque Athletic Club fans and Irish Celtic fans. The results demonstrated that the theory of social constructivism most closely aligns with the case of Basque Athletic Club fans while the identities of Irish Celtic fans can best be explained by the theory of primordialism. The study then directs its efforts to the two clubs’ purported roles in the promotion of nationalism, differentiating between ethnic and civic nationalism. Observing fans’ opinions, the results have shown that that the two clubs do continue to bear relations with Basque and Irish nationalism, however, the ways in which this is done differs. Athletic Club upholds a relationship with Basque nationalism through a combination of both ethnic and civic nationalism, whereas Celtic sustains a connection to Irish nationalism through cultural means mirroring ethnic nationalism. These results suggest a correlation between the way in which fans’ ethnicities are constructed and the club’s continued catering to Basque/Irish nationalism.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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