Water for Sport: The (Re)Production of Global Crisis
Bunds, Kyle S. (author)
Giardina, Michael D. (professor directing dissertation)
Proffitt, Jennifer M. (university representative)
Newman, Joshua I. (committee member)
James, Jeffrey D. (committee member)
Department of Sport Management (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
Water is a natural resource with which the Global North is familiar with, but unfamiliar - conscious of its importance, but unconscious of its complexity. People with access to clean water know that they receive water in their hands or glass when they turn on the faucet, but how it reaches that point is really unimportant over the course of their day. Yet, the battle for access to and control of water has been burgeoning for centuries: the Nile River Wars have raged on for centuries and continue today (Waterbury, 1979); access to clean drinking water was determined by social class in the middle ages resulting in impressive aqueduct systems and social division (Magnusson, 2001); cholera spread throughout India during the colonization period as the caste system was introduced and clean water was a privilege strictly for the colonizers and elite (Arnold, 1986); conservation of water through times of drought plagued the Southwestern United States through the early to middle twentieth centuries leading to large dam projects and governmental subsidies for farmers (Glennon, 2009); and, water is currently a resource interwoven within a larger discussion involving environmental marketization (Bakker, 2007). There has been a plethora of solutions proposed, greed exposed, and bodies decomposed, but the problem exists as much now as ever. The era we enter into now is one of new media and technology that helps to expose individuals to the human body in need. This media exposure has led to the widespread adoption of the phrase "water crisis" and has involved a growth in the number of non-profits involved with water problems. First entering the public lexicon in 1991, "'crisis' over environmental issues have been presented by well-intentioned activists and organisations promoting the changes needed to bring about sustainable development" (Newson, 2009, p. 17). This crisis can be in large part accredited to failed government initiatives and privatization efforts that continue to create problems (Bakker, 2010). The non-profit era born from a turn in economic policies away from social welfare programming (King, 2000; Specht & Courtney, 1994; Trattner, 1999), has seemingly come to the rescue of the failures between the state and the private entity. This turn toward an era dominated by non-profits and a discourse of the good, philanthropic American citizen has witnessed the rise of the social marketing conglomerate. These social marketing groups are comprised of non-profit organizations, multinational corporations, local communities, and governments all working towards behavioral changes (Kotler & Lee, 2009) on the part of the Global North consumer of their message or the Global South receiver of their aid. One avenue the social marketing groups have chosen to utilize is sport. It is on this idea of sport and the human body as a site for the development and reproduction of historical struggles for life, power, and control that this project focuses. To this end, I followed the water as it flows quite literally as a resource, to a commodity, to money, to commodity, and back again through multi-method qualitative inquiry. This interpretive ethnography (Denzin, 1997) consisted of three qualitative methods of inquiry. The first is a descriptive content analysis of the discourse of water and the implementation of programs providing clean drinking water to those in the Global South. The second type of analysis is semi-structured and reflexive interviews (Denzin, 2001) with participants in events raising money for water and members of social marketing groups. The final part of the analysis is a critical ethnography of water charities in the Global North. Through this method, I understood who gets to speak for whom and what type of bodies matter in the search for the answer to the world's water crisis.
Crisis, Organizational Ethnography, Political Economy, Social Marketing, Sport for Development, Water Charity
March 27, 2014.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Sport Management in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Michael D. Giardina, Professor Directing Dissertation; Jennifer M. Proffitt, University Representative; Joshua I. Newman, Committee Member; Jeffrey D. James, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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