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GEO 3050 Week 12 Curi.docx

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University of Guelph
GEOG 3050
Kate Parizeau

Week 12 - Curi · SA hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup à public demonstrations, strikes and other forms of civic campaigning · World Cup activism preceded and followed by public unrest and industrial action · Threatened to de-rail the event · PAPER: o Assesses the motivations, forms and implications of the activism during South Africa‟s staging of the FIFA finals and interprets them against the larger context of shifting state- society relations in the country INTRODUCTION · Violent demonstration in Riverlea, a black township adjacent to Soccer City Stadium in Joburg in Oct. 2009 à several months before SA‟s FIFA World Cup · Stadium had been extended and refurbished with 308million pounds · Residents of Riverlea upset that the government is pouring money into the 2010 World Cup instead of into housing o Have no housing and no jobs · Some of the demonstrations stoned passing traffic and engaged in scuffles with the police · Represented the growing and widespread tide of social protest and civic campaigning in the months leading to, and during the World Cup · Mostly voiced a broader range of socioeconomic grievances à demand for better delivery of municipal services · Threatened to derail the tournament · Majority used the World Cup as a platform while other directly questioned the long-term social benefits of the event · Few weeks before the finals… o Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the country‟s largest and most powerful labour federation, showed their intention to wage a strike during the tournament o Focus was the impact of high electricity tariffs on the poor o Large-scale demonstration by minibus taxi drivers protesting against the introduction of extended bus and rail commuter systems in many of the tournament‟s host cities · Opening week… o 2010 Local Organizing Committee (LOC) went on strike to protest their low wages o Wide international media coverage o Embarrassment for SA authorities and FIFA & security threat o Government had to deploy additional public security officers o Eventually resolved · Other numerous civil society groups had organized demonstrations that drew widespread support across different urban centres · PAPER: To explore the underlying internal social forces that gave shape to the protests at the time, as well as the influence of the exogenous politics of mega-event social mobilization that might have played role; and to understand the longer-term socio-political legacies that these processes might have left for the country. · These instances of civic protests parallel the dynamic that are part of a mega-event hosting in other parts of the world, where often as a refection of prevailing social relations, mega-events become arenas of contestation among diverse interest groups · In regards to the social impacts of sport mega-events in the Global North, insights have been offered into the ways in which such events are shaped by the competing agendas and demand of those who champion their economic potentials à and those who regard themselves excluded or negatively affected by the material changes resulting from these events · Protest dynamics and civic activism around the 2010 FIFA finals was quite singular o Not always directly related to the tournament and expressed a range of demands that extended well beyond the event itself o “Our struggles are bigger than the World Cup” · The World Cup was but a site for an existing set of political battles in South Africa à reflective of deeper-lying internal political currents · Increase in civic activism and social protest in SA over the past number of years · While some arose spontaneously other are indicative of large-scale social mobilization as a new element of political engagement · Social movements have grown in number and significance, becoming vehicles of advocacy for a broad spectrum of social demands · The protests and demonstrations witnessed during the World Cup were part of a much larger and on-going series of contestations among social and political groups · At the same time they were influenced in significant ways by the wider processes that characterize mega-events as an arena of politics · Mega-events are special, unique and ephemeral, but they are also reflections of the political dynamics and class relations in the contexts they are held · Perhaps because they capture the attention of international media, they provide the opportunity for domestic „crises‟ and contestations to be externalized · Two points of analysis… o Context of state-societal dynamics in SA is examined in which main emergent fault lines are highlighted o World Cup explored as a political space à adversarial arena where event processes result from the dialects between the ruling elite and civil society · Mega-events as adversarial sites · PAPER OVERVIEW: The paper starts off with a contextualization of mega- events as adversarial sites. This is followed by an overview of the history and contemporary nature of state-society relations in the South African polis, as a way to contextualize the environment of the event, and diverse range of expectations and objectives that characterized the event‟s staging. Thereafter the social contestations and activism that prevailed during the tournament, their motivations, forms and consequences are discussed. A concluding section reflects on what these imply for the post-apartheid polis, as well as for broader understandings of the social role of mega-events. The analysis draws on a two-pronged methodology. First, a desktop study was conducted of World Cup-related and broader civil society advocacy in South Africa over the period 2004 to 2011. Archived media material was systematically collected and reviewed as well as collections from the South African Centre for Civil Society‟s Social Protest Observatory. Second, primary data was collected by means of key informant interviews conducted with civic leaders and figures prominent organizing demonstrations during the tournament. Seven such organizations were interviewed. Interviews were also conducted with six civil society researchers and political analysts studying social movements in South Africa. Interviews were conducted over a seven-month period between October 2010 and May 2011. SPORT MEGA-EVENTS AS ADVERSARIAL SITES · Sport mega-events as major cultural affairs · Combine the processes of commodification, commercialization and signification to produce a spectacle that is imbued with great symbolic meaning · Less explored à the way in which mega-events constitute political commodities in the contemporary era, and how they are used in instrumental and strategic ways for large-scale objectives by political forces & the societal contestations they may evoke or amplify as a result · Event processes reflect something about the society and the state they are hosted by and how societal processes shape event outcomes · Mega-events are perceived and utilized by different support groups o Frame engagement between host authorities/elites and societies o Regarded as useful creators and conduits of capital in a competitive international environment by policy makers and the private sector · Stimulates foreign and domestic investment in under-resourced areas or vulnerable sectors · Some states use these events as their strategic politics and policies formed within the context of the prevailing neoliberal globalized order o Use the event as a means to „capture‟ mobile international capital or to align national development processes · Social activism in these areas à changing material conditions engendered by economic globalization and related changes in societal values · Western societies… o „Post-industrial societies‟ à shift from manufacturing to service- based economies à changes in social and political values and related political behaviors · Global sport, particularly in the highly commercialized and corporatized form it has acquired, has become a significant sphere of contestation in which social groups seek to challenge a range of perceived social injustices o Mega-events have become a significant component of macroeconomic and urban planning o Processes related to their hosting tend to penetrate deep into and sometimes reshape hosts‟ legislative and policymaking domains · In many host cities or countries, local inst. Environments are adapted and become geared to the delivery of an event o Often sidesteps est. democratic channels · Because of their size and organizational complexities, mega-events affect many layers of social and political life · Motivations for social opposition to different types of mega-events à vary from claims that they have harmful political, cultural and environmental impacts o Contestations centre on questions about the ownership of and power relations in mega-events and their aftermaths for societies o i.e. will it make a meaningful different to people‟s futures and whether potential economic gains will be widely distributed · Groups opposing mega events à transformative and reformative agendas o Transformative: challenge and seek to alter status quo structures o Reformist: work within and do not aim to change est. political structures à trying to mobilize various political resources and networks, draw attention to specific social issues, place pressure on political authorities
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