On 4 May 2015 Albrecht Sonntag served as external examiner – or, in the local jargon: as ‘opponent’ – in a PhD defence at the University of Copenhagen. The candidate, Svenja-Maria Mintert, is the first of the three PhD students who completed their dissertation within the framework of the FREE Project to have passed her defence. Two more are expected to take place later in 2015.
The PhD thesis entitled ‘Football-Feminisation-Fans. Explorative Studies in a European Context’ was a cumulative dissertation based on qualitative research on women’s football and female fans. It represents a truly interdisciplinary piece of research situated on the crossroads between sociology, ethnography and gender studies. The field work was almost exclusively carried out in Denmark. The most interesting findings, especially about women’s socialisation as football fans and their strategies of adaptation to what has been referred to as the ‘hegemonic masculinity’ of the football stadium, have provided input into the FREE Project’s policy brief on women’s football that was recently submitted to the European Commission.
Concerning the PhD jury, however, there was no trace whatsoever of ‘hegemonic masculinity’! Among the group composed of the PhD candidate, jury chair Laila Ottesen and thesis supervisor Gertrud Pfister (both University of Copenhagen), as well as external examiner Annette Hofmann (Pedagogical University of Ludwigsburg, Germany), Albrecht Sonntag rather found himself to be a kind of ‘alibi male’ in a fully female environment…
After an initial presentation of the main contents and findings of the dissertation and two long rounds of critical questions forwarded by the two opponents, Svenja Mintert was visibly relieved to have successfully passed this demanding examination. She was congratulated with a rather original, very impressive ‘doctoral hat’.