Reflecting the global popularity of gambling among young people, youth participation in football betting has risen exponentially across sub-Saharan Africa in recent years. This has been facilitated by the spread and prevalence of mobile technology; the widespread popularity of football aided by satellite media broadcasting; weak macro-level regulatory regimes; and a recognition by the sports betting industry that African youth constitute a potentially lucrative market. In keeping with wider concerns around the profound harms that frequently accompany gambling, the prevalence of sports betting has been cited as one of the most pressing public health and societal issues on the African continent. Despite this, academic research on the drivers and implications of sports gambling is limited.
Focusing on an African context(s) of the candidates choosing, this project redresses this neglect by exploring the intersections between young peoples’ engagement in formal and informal football gambling and how they survive and ‘navigate’ urban contexts characterised by poverty. It is particularly concerned with the subjective meanings that male youth attach to this practice and how these correlate with the tendency to dismiss gambling behaviours as ‘irrational’.
The project is underpinned by four research questions that explore football betting from macro (industry), meso (familial and community), and micro (individual) level perspectives;
1.How is sports gambling structured, promoted and regulated in Africa?
2.What are the subjective motivations of male youth engaged in football betting?
3.How is this practice understood, perceived and experienced and how does it articulate with transitions to respectable social adulthood?
4.What are the macro, meso and micro consequences of sports gambling in African contexts?
Methods to be used;
The proposed methods will be ethnographic and will seek to generate empirically grounded knowledge of football betting in an African context(s). This will involve participant observation of gambling behaviours, and their implications, among male youth. Semi-structured interviews and/or focus groups with participants in gambling will be key, alongside interviews with other actors in this industry, including regulatory authorities, government officials, representatives of sports gambling corporations and licensees of gambling premises/shops. Documentary analysis of policy/regulatory frameworks for gambling will also be employed. The mix of methods will accommodate the strengths of the candidate and will be negotiated with the supervisory team.
The applicant will require a specialism in social science (sociology or anthropology) and/or the humanities or a related field such as African studies, development studies, social sciences of sport or sports management. The applicant will also be willing to engage in extended ethnographic fieldwork in an African context(s). There is scope for a candidate to tailor the project to their research interests/specialism and to develop more refined research ideas. This should be reflected in the proposal that is submitted as part of the application process. Please feel free to contact the lead supervisor to discuss the proposal, or any other matter relating to this project, in advance of an application.
Abdi, T. A., R. A. C. Ruiter, and T. A. Adal (2015) ‘Personal, social and environmental risk factors of problematic gambling among high school adolescents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’, Journal of Gambling Studies 31(1):59–72.
Louw, S (2017) ‘African numbers games and gambler motivation: “Fahfee” in contemporary South Africa’, African Affairs, 117 (466): 109–129.
Ssewanyana, D and Bitanihirwe, B (2018) ‘Problem Gambling among Young People in sub-Saharan Africa’, Frontiers in Public Health, 6(23): 1-6.
Tagoe, V. N. K., Yendork, J. S. and Asante, K. O. (2018) ‘Gambling among youth in contemporary Ghana: Understanding, initiation, and perceived benefits’, Africa Today, 64(3): 52-69.
Christiansen, C., Utas, M. and Vigh, H. E. (eds.) (2006) Navigating Youth, Generating Adulthood: Social becoming in an African context (Uppsala: The Nordic Africa Institute).
If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.
The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:
Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies
Friday 7 February 2020
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