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Development through football in Africa: Neoliberal and postcolonial models of community development

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kathryn Manzo


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Informed by academic writings on non-governmental organisations (NGOs), critiques of neoliberal development, and postcolonial development theory, this paper explores the relationship between football and development through critical analysis of two contrasting initiatives. One is the Football for Hope Movement (FHM), which was the principal backer of the official campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup (FWC), called “20 Centres for 2010”. The second is the Katina 2009 football tournament held under the auspices of a community development project in Uganda sponsored by the Guardian newspaper and Barclays bank in the UK.The initial aim was to identify the particular development models at work within ‘development through football’ initiatives. While an established model of NGO-led community development is certainly apparent, different initiatives suggest a basic distinction between neoliberal and postcolonial variants. The paper identifies and explains the differences while showing how contrasting models become sites of struggle and overlap, to some extent, when translated into development practice. Ultimately, the investigation reveals how football is used as a magnet to draw young people deeper into the operational orbit of NGOs and their donors. The paper also draws attention to new actors and partnerships in international development – most notably the Guardian, whose transformation into a development actor suggests a novel ‘NGO-isation’ of the media itself.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Manzo KA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geoforum

Year: 2012

Volume: 43

Issue: 3

Pages: 551-560

Print publication date: 13/11/2011

ISSN (print): 0016-7185

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9398

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2011.10.006


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