In the Global South since the 1980s, as economic downturns under pressure from the forces of neoliberalism have eroded social relations and pauperized populations, sport and athletes' bodies have become major focus of attention in many countries, offering promises of a better future that lies elsewhere. These dynamics have occurred as global sport industries have become commoditized, mediatized, and corporatized, transformations that have been spearheaded by the growing importance of privatized media interests. In Cameroon, Fiji, and Senegal, athletic hopefuls prospectively embody new gendered subjectivities in hope of marketing their athletic talent in these industries, which take the form of new religious convictions such as Pentecostalism and maraboutism and transform the constitution of masculinity.
Niko Besnier is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam and Editor-in-Chief of American Ethnologist. In 2011, he was awarded a five-year Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for a project titled Globalization, Sports, and the Precarity of Masculinity. He is the author and editor of many influential volumes including Literacy, Emotion and Authority (Cambridge, 1995), Gossip and the Everyday Production of Politics (Hawai'i, 2009), On the Edge of the Global (Stanford, 2011), and Gender on the Edge (with Kalissa Alexeyeff, Hawai'i, 2014). He has taught previously at the University of Illinois, Yale University, Victoria University of Wellington, and UCLA, and held visiting appointments or fellowships at the University of Hawai'i, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, University of Auckland, Kagoshima University, Waseda University, University of Melbourne, École Normal Supérieure Paris, Université de Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, and the University of Manchester.
This lecture is free and open to the public.