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[2017/03/16] ISA Regional Guest Lecture: Niko Besnier - Rethinking Masculinity through Sport: Cameroonian Footballers, Senegalese Wrestlers, and Fijian Rugby Boys

 

ISA-Einladung

Niko Besnier (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands): "Rethinking Masculinity through Sport: Cameroonian Footballers, Senegalese Wrestlers, and Fijian Rugby Boys"

Thursday, 16. March 2017, 4 PM

ÖAW, Institut für Sozialanthropologie
A-1020 Wien, Hollandstrasse 11-13

 

Masculinity is informed by the multiple dimensions of human difference that cross-cut it, although some of them may become more central than others in different locations and at different times. In many regions of the global South, sport and the possibility of employment in the sport industries have acquired in the last few decades particular prominence. The possibility of making it in the sports industries has had a transformative effect on the lives of young men in many countries of the global South, despite the extremely limited probability of success, and has transformed the configuration of masculinity as older forms are no longer available because of the effect of global capitalism on local economies. At the same, the sport industries have undergone radical transformations spearheaded by the growing importance of privatized media interests. The now commercialized, mediatized, and corporatized sport industries have transformed professional athletes into neoliberal subjects in charge of their destiny in an increasingly demanding and unpredictable labour market. Athletic hopefuls in Cameroon, Fiji, and Senegal prospectively embody this new subjectivity by mobilizing locally available instruments that resemble neoliberal subjectivity most closely, such as Pentecostalism and magic. Piggybacking on the glamour of sport, which fills a vacuum left by the evacuation of traditional forms of masculinity and acts as a triage mechanism that sorts between valorized forms of masculinity and the rest, the magnet of neoliberalism is powerful in drawing vulnerable people’s attention all over the world.