4,000: A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA s Media Response to Human Rights Abuses in Preparation for the 2022 World Cup

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University of Portland Pilot Scholars Communication Studies Graduate Publications and Presentations Communication Studies Fall ,000: A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA s Media Response to Human Rights
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University of Portland Pilot Scholars Communication Studies Graduate Publications and Presentations Communication Studies Fall ,000: A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA s Media Response to Human Rights Abuses in Preparation for the 2022 World Cup Jason Dodson Follow this and additional works at: Part of the Communication Commons Citation: Pilot Scholars Version (Modified MLA Style) Dodson, Jason, 4,000: A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA s Media Response to Human Rights Abuses in Preparation for the 2022 World Cup (2014). Communication Studies Graduate Publications and Presentations. 4. This Capstone Project is brought to you for free and open access by the Communication Studies at Pilot Scholars. It has been accepted for inclusion in Communication Studies Graduate Publications and Presentations by an authorized administrator of Pilot Scholars. For more information, please contact 4,000 A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA 1 4,000: A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA s Media Response to Human Rights Abuses in Preparation for the 2022 World Cup Jason Dodson Organizational Communication Capstone Project University of Portland Fall 2014 CST 533 Supervised by Alexa Dare Ph.D. Disclaimer: I understand that in the interest of shared scholarship the University of Portland and its agents have the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible my work in whole or in part in all forms of media in perpetuity. Further, I understand that my work, in addition to its bibliographic record and abstract, may be available to a wider community of scholars and researchers through electronic access. 4,000 A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA 2 Abstract On September 25, 2013 The Guardian released a report that alleged human rights abuses at the construction sites for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Further investigation from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has estimated that over 4,000 migrant workers will die before a soccer ball is kicked in Subsequent reports claim that the abuses and deaths have continued since the initial Guardian report. Despite these reports, as of December 2014, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will still take place as planned. Using rhetorical analysis based on Michel Foucault s method of genealogy, this research analyzes how FIFA uses rhetoric in the media to maintain organizational power in the face of these human rights abuse allegations. The findings indicate that FIFA s use of contradictory rhetoric and distancing rhetoric regarding their responsibility towards the workers rights problems helps to establish and maintain a favorable subjective truth about FIFA s role the situation. Inoculation theory is applied to further explain how this sort of rhetoric helps FIFA to maintain power and remain inactive on the human rights issue. Keywords: FIFA, World Cup, Human Rights, Rhetorical Analysis, Michel Foucault, Inoculation Theory 4,000 A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA 3 In the end, I found it hard to be too hostile towards globalization. For all its many faults, it has brought soccer to the far corners of the world, and into my life. Franklin Foer, Author of How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory on Globalization (2004, p. 18). In fact, these working conditions and the astonishing number of deaths of vulnerable [migrant] workers go beyond forced labour to the slavery of old where human beings were treated as objects. There is no longer a risk that the World Cup might be built on forced labour. It is already happening. Adian McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar (Pattisson, 2013). Introduction On December 2, 2010 international soccer s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) awarded the 2022 World Cup hosting rights to Qatar. Almost immediately, the decision faced harsh criticism for the country s climate (where temperatures can reach over 50 O Celsius or 120 O Fahrenheit during the summer months when the tournament is played), as well as allegations of corruption and bribery in the bidding process (Oliver, 2014) (Oliver, 2014). Nevertheless FIFA and its president, Sepp Blatter, were adamant that the decision to hold the tournament in Qatar would not be reversed. With the tournament secured, Qatar started work on an estimated $100 billion in infrastructure upgrades that include a new airport, roads, hotels, and five new stadiums (Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, 2013). Almost three years later, on September 25, 2013, British newspaper The Guardian released a report titled, Revealed: Qatar s World Cup slaves (Pattisson, 2013). This scathing report alleges that many migrant workers were brought into Qatar to build the massive infrastructure needed for the tournament only to face terrible and dangerous working conditions, which are likened to modern day slavery: This summer [2013], Nepalese workers died at a rate of almost one a day in Qatar, many of them young men who had sudden heart attacks. The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the 4,000 A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA 4 International Labour Organisation, during a building binge paving the way for (Pattisson, 2013) Further accusations from the report allege that workers wages are being withheld, passports are being confiscated, workers are being barred from leaving the country, and workers are living in unsanitary living quarters with up to 12 people per room. According to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), an estimated 4,000 workers will die in the preparation for the World Cup (Booth, Qatar World Cup construction 'will leave 4,000 migrant workers dead', 2013). In the face of international criticism and scrutiny, FIFA has pledged to address the issue (Gibson, Qatar accused of dragging its feet over treatment of migrant workers, 2014). Yet over a year has passed since The Guardian published their article and accounts of working conditions in Qatar reveal that very little has changed. The conditions are still unsanitary and unsafe (Gibson, Qatar accused of dragging its feet over treatment of migrant workers, 2014). Workers are still being paid low wages, if receiving any payment at all (Booth & Pattisson, 2014). According to these sources, there is large disconnect between FIFA s rhetoric and expressed values, and their actions (or lack thereof). Despite FIFA s claims that its values, principles, and ethics are being violated by the migrant abuses, the problem continues (Al Jazeera, FIFA not responsible for national policies, 2014). FIFA as a Globalized Institution Literature Review There are several large entities that work together to produce the World Cup (such as FIFA, national and local governments, and multinational corporate sponsors) as well as countless smaller actors (such as individual players, coaches, administrators, local business owners, stadium maintenance workers, and construction workers). While all of these entities work 4,000 A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA 5 together to create the World Cup, FIFA is the governing body responsible for organizing the tournament. They are in charge of choosing the host country to stage their tournament after an extensive bidding process in which countries spend millions of dollars to propose that their country hosts the event. For the 2022 event, the three front running countries were the United States, Australia, and Qatar and they spent $5 million, $42.7 million, and $200 million on their proposals, respectively (Peters, 2013). This magnitude of monetary expense indicates that there is significant global prestige in hosting the event. When FIFA announced that South Africa was to host the 2010 event, the lead organizer of the tournament said, People will see we are African. We are world-class (Zirin, 2014, p. 156). The political emphasis of the World Cup is exactly that to showcase your country to the world, through FIFA s tournament. South Africa ended up spending over $3 billion to host the month long tournament, but in return it received what the government called, An intangible legacy (Imray, 2012). The mere idea of a global sport tournament implies an economic and cultural exchange. However, though the World Cup has been an intercontinental event since its inception, according to Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski (2009) the tournament didn't truly globalize until the 1980s: Though most people on the planet lived in Asia, the continent s only representative at the World Cup of 1978 was Iran (p. 294). However, this date also coincides with when scholars started to, independently, discuss globalization as it emerged out of the embers of the cold war (Kaldor, 2010). In fact, it wasn t until the 1998 World Cup in France that more than one team from the Asian continent participated in the World Cup finals 1. In many ways, the rise of emerging economies in a globalized world, particularly in Asia, has also mirrored the rise of Asian teams in the World Cup. This highlights an important concept: Just as the modern world 1 The term finals refers to the 32-team tournament based in a specific country. Technically speaking, any team that participates in the extensive qualifying is a participant in the World Cup. 4,000 A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA 6 has been and is constantly being redefined by the forces of globalization, so too is FIFA and the World Cup being remolded by those same forces. Cynthia Stohl (2005) presented six processes that unify all theories of globalization (p. 247). Though all six of these processes have relevance to the human rights abuses in the Qatar World Cup, the two that this research is primarily concerned with are numbers 1 and 2. This framework can give context to the World Cup as it exists in a contemporary and globalized world. The first process that Stohl presents the dramatic increase of economic interdependence worldwide explains that actions on the global stage are increasingly intertwined, as facilitated through communication. She states that: The first dynamic generates and is generated by new forms of organizational arrangements and communication processes. Interdependence necessitates flexible forms of cooperation within and between traditional and emerging organizational structures at the local, state, regional, and global levels. (p. 248) Complex and multi-layered, international coordination is at the core of the World Cup. FIFA (the global organization) works with the Qatari government (a national organization), who then contracts the construction out to companies (who can be either local, national, or international), who then hire construction workers (sometimes local, but in this case mostly international). This international network is dependent on the communication processes between the various levels involved. For example, FIFA has communicated a clear standard for their stadiums to be built. FIFA s reputation is therefore tied to the construction companies who are tasked with building stadiums and infrastructure to meet that high standard. Likewise, the construction companies derive their capital from the Qatari government and sponsors who provide the investment for the tournament. The construction workers are dependent on the 4,000 A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA 7 construction companies for their work compensation. This connection is where the system is breaking down. The breakdown is happening at the lowest level of the hierarchy of interdependence that FIFA is relying on for their tournament to take place. While FIFA as an organization is distanced from the workers who are constructing their stadiums in that they are neither directly paying the workers (that duty technically falls to the private construction companies), nor are they directly responsible for worker oversight (as that duty technically falls to the Qatari government), the reality of a globalized event and world, as Stohl points out, is interconnectedness. Though FIFA is not directly connected to the workers, they are economically intertwined with them and therefore, as the lead organizer of the tournament, should bear some of the responsibility for worker welfare in the buildup for their event. The second process Stohl presents the intensification and deepening of material, political, and cultural exchanges helps to explain the forces that have pushed migrant workers into this situation in the first place. Stohl explains that the eroding boundaries in a globalized world are changing everything; from what people talk about, to where they work and live. In this way, the forces of globalization are paradoxically driving money, culture, and labor into concentrated areas as influence spreads globally. Stohl says that: Communication technologies may mean the end of distance, but location still matters. The very diffuseness of the global system demands concentrated financial infrastructures, management systems, and labor forces. (p. 249) By its nature, the World Cup is an event that requires a tremendous amount of infrastructure one that Qatar did not have at the time of the bidding process. Their existing labor force was far too small to completely renovate their infrastructure to meet the needs of the tournament, as the country only has a population of roughly two million people. This means that in order to put on an event that the entire world would partake in, construction contractors had to look outside of 4,000 A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA 8 the country for its labor force. Removing the workers geographically however also put them into a damaging political situation. Under Qatar law and the kafala visa system, which ties the workers visa to one employer who must authorize and release the employee to work elsewhere and/or leave the country, migrant workers are not granted the same rights as Qatari citizens (Pattisson, 2013). The Qatari government pledged to reform the system, but little has changed since the promise (Gibson, Qatar accused of dragging its feet over treatment of migrant workers, 2014). Seemingly then, the rights and humanity of the workers was lost somewhere in this cultural and economic exchange that was vital for ensuring that Qatar could host FIFA s event. FIFA s Power It is clear by the amount of money countries spent on the hosting bid alone that FIFA has some sort of power to command such a price tag. Michel Foucault defined power as, a more-orless organized, hierarchical, coordinated cluster of relations... power is relations; power is not a thing (Foss, Foss, & Trapp, 2002, p. 352). From this perspective, FIFA s power comes from their relationships with every significant soccer body in the world. As the governing body of the sport, FIFA stands atop a global hierarchy from which every football organization derives its legitimacy. There is no higher honor in soccer than winning their tournament: The World Cup. FIFA s power comes from its ability to coordinate the global soccer network. People have consented to FIFA as the dominant group who has the legitimacy to establish a world champion of the sport because they are the only organization with the relationships with and access to the best players in the world. Power derived from discourse Social Constructionism proposes that human knowledge and reality is not objective, but rather subjective (Lindlof & Taylor, 2011). According to Lindlof & Taylor (2011): 4,000 A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA 9 In this view, that meaningfulness is not singular, stable or passively absorbed. Instead, it is dependent on human actors using cultural stocks of knowledge to engage an ambiguous and reactive world and to serve their situated, evolving purposes. (p. 45) In other words, humans understand the world as constructed through our social situation. Our reality derives from our interpretations of the world around us and not from an objective reality or truth. As much as the world around us is created through our own perceptions, it is also understood through the people and the information that we are exposed to. Therefore, information and those who are granted the permission to disseminate it are given a tremendous amount of influence in shaping perceptions of the world. This is particularly true of the facts of events and situations that people are not directly privy to. For example, unless someone has the ability to travel to Qatari labor sites to see the abuses first hand, the only way to understand that reality is to construct it through the accounts and testimony of those who have. In this way, people grant a tremendous amount of power to the rhetoric of others in shaping their perceptions and understanding of reality. Foucault s work lines up well with social constructionism as his early work was concerned with discourse as essential to the creation of knowledge and truth (Foss, Foss & Trapp, 2002). He asserted that the entirety of collective knowledge and truth that people accept and understand is one that is created within the relations inside a discursive formation (Foss, Foss, & Trapp, 2002, p. 350). Foucault lays out three governing rules of discursive power (Foss, Foss, & Trapp, 2002). The first is that by granting permission to talk about something, people give that subject empowerment as truth. Conversely, when people do not recognize certain topics of discourse, the resulting silence acts to repress it as an acceptable truth. The second principle is that people listen to the words of some and reject the words of others. Those whose are respected are viewed as a source of truth. The third rule is that speech must be formulated in certain ways 4,000 A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA 10 in order for it to be accepted, whether it is through gesture (such as clothing), location (such as a college lecture hall), or medium (such as a newspaper). In this way, the non-verbal context surrounding the discourse determines its ability to become an accepted truth. Accepting Foucault s rules, it logically follows that the media is crucial for establishing truth and legitimacy in the public discourse. Though discourse is created across all mediums of human communication, the discourse of institutional media (i.e. newspaper, television) is particularly influential because it simultaneously satisfies all three of Foucault s rules. First, through selecting the subjects to talk about, institutional media inherently establishes the topics that are acceptable for the public discourse, thus establishing those topics and, more importantly, the surrounding opinions expressed through the media as the truth. Second, by selecting a limited number of voices to include in the public discourse, the media chooses the individuals who are to be the consistent sources of truth. Third, the medium of discourse itself becomes a source of legitimization. The fact that something is said in a newspaper or on a television in and of itself creates a powerful context for that information, making it much more likely to be accepted and understood as the truth. Existing research in the field of communications supports the notion that the medium and source of a message can significantly affect how the message is understood (Treadwell, 2014, p. 263). Therefore, given that the media is a powerful medium by which truth is constructed and power is granted, studying the way that FIFA s discourse as it appears in the media gives understanding as to how the organization constructs discourse to establish and maintain power. RQ 1: What truths about the Qatar World Cup preparation are produced through media discourse? Power as productive and destructive 4,000 A Rhetorical Analysis of FIFA 11 Many critics of FIFA s practices are quick to point out the accusations of corruption that continually seem to mar the organization. They argue that FIFA s power comes from its ability to repress people, organizations, and bend entire governments
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