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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53995
Doc. No:TL23949
Call number:‭3262287‬
Main Entry:Michael Ralph
Title & Author:(At) play in the postcolonyMichael Ralph
College:The University of Chicago
Date:2007
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2007
Page No:248
Abstract:(At) Play in the Postcolony confronts Senegal's current labor crisis through a sustained historical and ethnographic study of a government who claims the recent success of the national soccer team as evidence of its own efficacy (despite being famously unsuccessful at resolving the nation's economic woes), and youth determined to escape chronic unemployment by playing for professional teams abroad. In my dissertation, I address the state's project to use sport as a way to attract foreign investment while working to manage its young population during an economic crisis in which 'urban youth' constitute 40% of the total 48% unemployed population. I am concerned with understanding what happens when economically marginalized subjects use sport to petition for better social standing: this is true for youth" and "state" officials alike since both are convinced that harnessing athletic abilities makes them eligible for the pursuit of increased prosperity, and both expect social transformations to occur based on their proximity to international networks. Yet while state officials use soccer to unify the nation, project an image of virility, and align the country with its vision of African neoliberalism, youth are increasingly interested in using basketball to build careers, taking advantage of the transnational corporations and NBA teams that have developed a recent interest in this west African locale. Even though the two sports follow different trajectories, these postcolonial hoop dreams parallel the government's new interest in cultivating relationships with the United States and other countries it believes will assist its neoliberal aspirations. In these contexts, success is equated with the athletic performance of all-male cadres whose most prominent members spend very little time in the country since they play for professional teams abroad. They are nevertheless valorized in collective aspirations for success. By understanding how this interest in sport is created and sustained in state discourses and conversations with unemployed youth, I explore the techniques and strategies through which subjects use the skills at their disposal—or the traits with which they believe they have been blessed—to better their socio-economic positions through the confluence of institutional resources "at play" in the postcolony.
Subject:Social sciences; Labor crisis; Postcolonial; Race; Senegal; Sport; Unemployment; African Americans; Cultural anthropology; Economic history; 0326:Cultural anthropology; 0509:Economic history; 0325:African Americans
Added Entry:J. Comaroff
Added Entry:The University of Chicago