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Itamar DubinskyItamar Dubinsky

Itamar Dubinsky is an African Studies M.A. student from the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University, Israel. Currently he is writing his thesis on football academies in Ghana from the locals' point of view. Recently he won the yearly contest by Jama'a, an interdisciplinary journal for Middle Eastern studies, for his article on family planning in Tunisia and Iran. His next publication will be about the methodological and ethical questions which he has encountered during his research with children in Ghana, which will feature in a chapter of a book which focuses on field work in Africa. Itamar is a longtime fan of Maccabi Tel-Aviv F.C. and Liverpool F.C.


Football Academies in Ghana

The research examines the role football academies play in Ghana, from the locals’ point of view. Most of the published research focuses mainly on international relationship aspects, such as immigration, exploitation and dependency (Bale 2004; Darby 2007; Poli 2006). It also seems that a “successful” academy is measured according to the number andor quality of players it “produces” and “exports”. As much as these studies are important for the understanding of various aspects relating to African studies, I argue that they provide a limited perspective since local communities are hardly examined. Therefore, my work presents a more diverse perspective that includes the thoughts of owners, coaches, children (boys and girls), parents and other locals surrounding the academies, such as sellers, fans, journalists, Football Association officials and scholars, an input which is missing in the current literature. Only recently has this approach received scholarly attention (Darby 2012:271), though not enough. My research presents a more holistic approach that sees the contribution of the football academies to the development of local communities, and not only to the individual, as an important parameter for determining the success of the academy. 

The presentation will be based on recent findings from eight weeks of ethnographic field work I have conducted this summer in Ghana. During this time, I have visited nine football academies, from different types (Darby, Akindes and Kirwin 2007), and conducted over thirty interviews. Upon them, I argue that football academies have the ability to contribute to development in different areas, such as sports, gender, education, health, economic, social, and in different levels, individually, communally and nationally. 

Unlike in the past, research and analysis of development in Africa emphasizes today the importance of using local knowledge as well as the participation of locals in assessing development programs (Grillo and Stirrat 1997; Mosse 2005). Furthermore, in the last two decades the notion that Sports and Development are connected has started to be published and examined also in relation to African issues (Levermore and Beacom 2009). My lecture will be based upon these insights as the theoretical framework.
Ernest Yeboah Acheampong
James Anderson
Kingsley Antwi-Bossiako
Pascal Charitas

Marc Crandall
Bonnie Everhart

Itamar Dubinsky
Mari H. Engh
Lee Evans
Anthony Frampton
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Mariana Dantas
Lee Evans
Anthony Frampton
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Sana Mahmud
Mbaye Ngom
Douglas Mpondi
Andy Ofori-Birikorang
Walter Nkwi
Chuka Owonmechili 
Cody Perkins
Romola Ratman
Michel Raspaud
Martha Saavedra
Sarah Shanley
Elisabeth Timbs
Peter Wanderi Peninah Wanjiku Mwenda
 Ali Zyati
Steve Howard
Andrew Kreutzer
Nana Owusu-Kwarteng




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