I am a social anthropologist from the University of Oslo (cand. polit. 1995) with a phd from the Norwegian school of sports sciences (2004). Since 2005 I have worked as an associate professor at Telemark University College, which became part of the University College of Southeast Norway in 2017. Research topics cover football and identities, globalisation, sport, peace and development (SPD). I have carried out field studies in various locations since the 1990's, including Scotland, Norway, England, Kenya and Zambia. I grew up on a dairy farm at Jæren on the south-west part of Norway, as the youngest of three siblings. Apart from duties on the farm football became an obsession from an early age. Yet, it was not until I met the late Eduardo P. Archetti, professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo at the time, I realised I could actually study football culture in a professional way.
Sport, development and patronage? – Power relations in Sport and development projects
The notion of using sport as a means for social development is not new and exclusive to what has recently been defined as the ‘SDP [Sport, Development and Peace] sector’. Authorized prosetylizations of ‘the intrinsic positive values of sport’ are ubiquitous especially in SDP-projects, a tendency which sometimes underscore or ignore critical scrutinies of power relations at work in sport. Sport is not an island, but generally evolves as an intractable part of broader social relations and political processes. The rapidly growing field of SDP projects is almost exclusively run by field-specific NGOs, as well as sports clubs, sports organisations or international organisations such as Unicef or Save the Children, who support sports-related projects in various ways in order to promote their own development goals. Typically, sports projects in the Global South are run by the collaborative efforts of an operational local NGO in the South and a variety of donor organisations mostly from the global North. This arrangement creates challenges in which SDP projects run the risk of being subtly defined by a ‘patronising’ financial source rather than by the democratically-pursued interests of the relevant local community. In this paper I wish to look specifically at the history of Norwegian involvement in SDP projects in the Global South and how these are charged with cultural complexities, social differences and, sometimes, a sense of naivety. I shall give a critical analysis of how North-South partnerships may be riddled with questions about whose development the respective partners are pursuing, based on field studies in Lusaka, Zambia, with local and Norwegian partners, dating back to two previous field visits in 2004 and 2011.