Sport, Migration, and Gender in the Neoliberal Age
This ethnographic collection explores how neoliberalism has permeated the bodies, subjectivities, and gender of youth around the world as global sport industries have expanded their reach into marginal areas, luring young athletes with the dream of pursuing athletic careers in professional leagues of the Global North.
Neoliberalism has reconfigured sport since the 1980s, as sport clubs and federations have become for-profit businesses, in conjunction with television and corporate sponsors. Neoliberal sport has had other important effects, which are rarely the object of attention: as the national economies of the Global South and local economies of marginal areas of the Global North have collapsed under pressure from global capital, many young people dream of pursuing a sport career as an escape from poverty. But this elusive future is often located elsewhere, initially in regional centres, though ultimately in the wealthy centres of the Global North that can support a sport infrastructure. The pursuit of this future has transformed kinship relations, gender relations, and the subjectivities of people. This collection of rich ethnographies from diverse regions of the world, from Ghana to Finland and from China to Fiji, pulls the reader into the lives of men and women in the global sport industries, including aspiring athletes, their families, and the agents, coaches, and academy directors shaping athletes' dreams. It demonstrates that the ideals of neoliberalism spread in surprising ways, intermingling with categories like gender, religion, indigeneity, and kinship. Athletes' migrations provide a novel angle on the global workings of neoliberalism.
This book will be of key interest to scholars in Gender Studies, Anthropology, Sport Studies, and Migration Studies.