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The Precarity of Masculinity
Football, Pentecostalism, and Transnational Aspirations in Cameroon
220 pages, 9 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-927-3 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (March 2022)
eISBN 978-1-78920-928-0 eBook
“This is an extraordinarily high-quality book, destined to make a mark in Africanist scholarship. Simply by demonstrating the connection between football and Pentecostalism in Cameroon, Kovac’s manuscript takes a step I have never seen before, examining a kind of confluence of two global movements into a local production of masculine subjects.” • Sasha Newell, Université libre de Bruxelles, author of The Modernity Bluff: Crime, Consumption, and Citizenship in Cote D'Ivoire
“Tells the fascinating story of young Cameroonians, who opt for football as a career to bring them global mobility and attain what the author calls ‘moral masculinity' … The story is full of unexpected turns, bringing in a wide array of aspects and actors.” • Peter Geschiere, University of Amsterdam, author of The Perils of Belonging: Autochthony, Citizenship, and Exclusion in Africa and Europe
Since the 1990s, an increasing number of young men in Cameroon have aspired to play football as a career and a strategy to migrate abroad. Migration through the sport promises fulfillment of masculine dreams of sports stardom, as well as opportunities to earn a living that have been hollowed out by the country’s long economic stalemate. The aspiring footballers are increasingly turning to Pentecostal Christianity, which allows them to challenge common tropes of young men as stubborn and promiscuous, while also offering a moral and bodily regime that promises success despite the odds. Yet the transnational sports market is tough and unpredictable: it demands disciplined young bodies and introduces new forms of uncertainty. This book unpacks young Cameroonians' football dreams, Pentecostal faith, obligations to provide, and desires to migrate to highlight the precarity of masculinity in structurally adjusted Africa and neoliberal capitalism.
Uroš Kovač is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the “Future Rural Africa” Collaborative Research Centre based at the University of Cologne, as well as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Münster Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology. He conducted doctoral research with the ERC-funded GLOBALSPORT research project at the University of Amsterdam Department of Anthropology.
Subject: Anthropology (General)Anthropology of ReligionGender Studies and Sexuality
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