Gulf countries’ investments in sports: Sports washing or soft power?
In recent years, the countries in the Gulf, with Qatar and Saudi Arabia at the forefront, have invested large resources in sport, primarily through organizing large sports events and in club football.
These activities have been covered very differently by the media. While the western media have characterized the whole thing as sports washing, with the aim of drawing attention away from unfortunate aspects in the respective countries, such as poor working conditions for the imported workforce and negative attitudes towards LGBT rights, the media in the «Global-South» have had a more positive coverage of the events, and also accused the West of having a condescending, orientalist view of the Gulf countries’ involvement in sport. How and why the activities are covered so differently by the media is the topic of conversation in the Literature House.
Participants are Kamilla Swart, who is currently an associate professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Doha, Qatar, where she has researched the Western media’s coverage of the football World Cup in Qatar. She has previously worked at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa, where she, among other things, researched effects related to the football World Cup in South Africa. Together with Jan Petter Saltvedt, who is NRK’s sports commentator, she will discuss how and why the media across the world has covered the issue differently. Harry Arne Solberg, professor at NTNU Business School, will chair the conversation between the two.