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Title: The seduction of football: Youth and sport for development and peace in post-conflict Liberia
Authors: Collison, Holly Lindsay
Advisors: Rollason, W
Keywords: Community;NGO's;Ethnography;Peacekeeping interventions;Anthropology
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: School of Social Sciences Theses
Abstract: This thesis considers Liberian youth and the concept of Sport for Development and Peace (SDP). Since the early 2000s the notion of SDP has been strongly advocated, accepted and inserted into UN led policies and intervention strategies for uniting societies divided by violent conflict. Whilst little has been done to monitor and evaluate such programmes the notion has grown at an unprecedented pace and has been adopted by the development and humanitarian industry with real vigour. In many ways football has become the face of development in post-conflict societies. However, this fashionable intervention remains a development assumption rather than a tested method of programming. Liberia is a post-conflict society with a large youth population, an active large UN peacekeeping force and a long footballing heritage with a plethora of local NGO’s using SDP initiatives. My intention in this thesis is to question the assumptions of SDP advocates as they are applied in Liberia, in order to provide a better understanding of the social effects of football for Liberia’s youth population. I pursue this goal through an ethnography of one Liberian youth football team, Zatti FC, the community from which the players are drawn and the Catholic youth centre where they play. This thesis is significant as, despite its popularity, SDP has rarely been subjected to academic scrutiny, especially using the detailed qualitative methods I apply here. I will argue that, in this context, SDP is highly counter-productive for the purpose of youth development and the re-building of a peaceful Liberian society because football constitutes and reinforces the marginal status of youth. Seductive images rather than rational argument are central to SDP’s implementation and growth. Aiming to engage and integrate youth in post-conflict Liberia, SDP actively confirms youth status in a competitive and exclusionary age-based hierarchy.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Anthropology
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Theses

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