A Game Changer? : The 2022 World Cup as a Global Stage to Discuss Labor Migrant Rights

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Title: A Game Changer? : The 2022 World Cup as a Global Stage to Discuss Labor Migrant Rights
Author: Schmitz, Amédé
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2016
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703273555
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Sociology
Abstract: The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has already generated extensive media attention prior to the event. Migrant workers at construction sites connected to the staging of the football championship are at the center of this attention: various actors criticize the working conditions of migrant workers and call for more rights for labor migrants. This discourse represents a global problem, depicting the vulnerable situations for many migrants in the country of destination. The host countries often neglect rights of migrant workers, while the country of origin has only limited power to protect their workers abroad. But how and by whom, then, are migrant workers protected if neither by the residing country nor by the country of origin? Based on the discourse about the rights of migrant workers in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup, this study analyzes how different actors negotiate the rights of migrant workers in times where there are yet no clearly institutionalized frameworks that adequately protect migrants. In order to reveal the discourse participants and subsequent analyze their claims, this research applies a unique combination of media analysis and document analysis. Through the theoretical framework of Sassen’s concept of studying globalization (2003) and Fraser’s theory of abnormal justice disputes (2008), the research analyzes ten reports of various state and non-state, national and international actors that engage in the discourse about rights of migrant workers. As the results show, the discourse participants identify Qatar’s legislations as the most powerful framework to protect migrant workers. While too weak to actually enforce rights, the international human and labor rights system nevertheless acts as a guideline for national legislations. Moreover, beyond the national governance (in form of a government) and the international governance (in form international organizations and NGOs), the discourse as such provides an abstract form of governance. Aside from these results, the study furthermore contributes to the methodological discussion about how to frame and scrutinize a discourse about a complex and divers topics, such as rights of migrant workers, and further develops the theoretical debate about justice claims in a globalized world.

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