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Elites and Carbon-Offsetting in Brazil: A Critique of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Mato Grosso

Crabb, Lauren Amber Holly (2016) Elites and Carbon-Offsetting in Brazil: A Critique of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Mato Grosso. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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Major sporting competitions, such as the Football World Cup and the Olympic Games have become global events. For the organisers of such events, they are much more than a short-term competition, they present the opportunity to ‘re-imagineer’ nations and cities. Scholars have discussed the commercialisation and financial opportunities of such sporting events, and their links to neoliberalism. But recent official claims about the social benefits and carbon neutrality have received much less attention. This thesis addresses this under-researched area. It documents and analyses the social and environmental claims made in the context of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and explores how these played out in the rural state of Mato Grosso. This study is primarily based on documentary research and ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Mato Grosso. It is informed by a critical management studies perspective and draws specifically on a neo-Gramscian approach to environmental governance. This enabled me to go behind the environmental discourse in Mato Grosso and understand the realities on the ground. The findings illustrate how regional elites co-opted environmental governance mechanisms and appropriated the socio-economic benefits of the FIFA World Cup. I focus particularly on a carbon offsetting project which was supposed to plant 1. 4 million trees along the Cuiabá River in order offset the CO emissions generated by the construction of the new Pantanal football Stadium. As I show, this project was organised by an NGO manufactured by Mato Grosso based agro-industrial elites, who used it as a vehicle to further their interests at the expense of local subsistence fishing communities and the environment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Centre for Work, Organisation and Society
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Lauren Crabb
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2016 14:45
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2016 14:45

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