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Title: A body and a dream at a vital conjuncture: Ghanaian youth, uncertainty and the allure of football
Authors: Esson, James
Keywords: Youth
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: © Elsevier Ltd
Citation: ESSON, J., 2013. A body and a dream at a vital conjuncture: Ghanaian youth, uncertainty and the allure of football. Geoforum, 47, pp. 84 - 92.
Abstract: This article investigates the rationale leading growing numbers of West African males to pursue a career in professional football, by taking the particular case of male youth in Accra and exploring how and why they are drawn into the football industry. Football is used as a lens to extend contemporary geographical debates over the agency, resourcefulness and entrepreneurialism of young people residing in the Global South. The transition from junior to senior secondary school is found to be a pivotal moment within many of the biographical accounts collected in Accra. I use theorisations of youth in sub-Saharan Africa to conceptualise this moment as a vital conjuncture, and shed light on how a career in football is now seen as a way to circumvent an education system considered to lead to unemployment, or unacceptable employment. Significantly, against a backdrop of neoliberal reform and an absence of state welfare, the perception that a career in professional football offers a means to create an income and be self-sufficient is very appealing. But it also offers more than that. It provides a means to demonstrate one’s masculinity, specifically, displays of wealth through conspicuous consumption, behaviour that young Ghanaians refer to as living the X-Way. It is argued that for male Ghanaian youth, the professional football player who is able to draw upon his latent sporting bodily capital and live the X-Way embodies resourcefulness. He is his own enterprise, a Foucauldian ‘entrepreneur of self’.
Description: This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Sponsor: This research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
Version: Published
DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.03.011
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/17405
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.03.011
ISSN: 0016-7185
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Geography and Environment)

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