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(2016) Critical event studies, Dordrecht, Springer.

A qualitative case study of the 2010 football world cup in South Africa

practical considerations and personal dilemmas

Suzanne Dowse

pp. 37-57

Within the study and analysis of events empirical research provides a means of testing and developing theory; however, the appropriateness of some of the methodologies adopted has been contested in the event studies literature. For example, case studies are widely recognised in the political sciences as a means of studying complex or infrequent phenomena, but this approach has been criticised for being, inter alia, unmanageable and producing ungeneralisable results (Garrod, B., & Fyall, A. (2013). The case study approach: Academic pariah or wrongly maligned? In B. Garrod & A. Fyall (Eds.), Contemporary cases in sport: Volume 1 (pp. 1–8). Oxford: Goodfellows). There is also ongoing concern in discussions of qualitative investigation regarding the effect of an inside or outside position on the researcher's ability to obtain and appropriately interpret data (Sabot, Geoforum, 30: 329–335, 1999; Weinreb, American Sociological Review, 71:1014–1039, 2006). Understanding the challenges and opportunities inherent in these approaches is therefore important, but present the researcher with a host of practical considerations and private dilemmas. This chapter explores these issues drawing on personal experience of conducting a case study of a mega-event that included fieldwork in a foreign country. The research findings illuminate the value of qualitative research in developing a nuanced understanding of the specific context(s) that influence complex social events, while the experience itself highlighted how personal insider and outsider statuses may influence the research process (Rainbird, H. (1990). Expectations and reflections: Examining conflict in the Andes. In R. Burgess (Ed.), Studies in qualitative methodologies (Vol. 2, pp. 77–98)). By sharing these insights and also reflecting on the rhetorical question (to paraphrase Wolcott, Methodological Developments in Ethnography, 12:27–33, 2007) "what kind of story is a South African willing to tell a British researcher" the purpose of this paper is to support the conduct of fieldwork within qualitative research "communities". Towards these ends, the discussion begins with a brief outline of the PhD project that provides the basis of the experiences shared in order to provide a context for the information presented. It then considers issues concerning qualitative data collection that are debated in the literature and how they were personally interpreted, experienced, and rationalised. The discussion concludes by reflecting on how the challenges inherent in the conduct of empirical field work should not discourage qualitative methodologies that have an irreplaceable role in the conduct of social research.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-52386-0_3

Full citation:

Dowse, S. (2016)., A qualitative case study of the 2010 football world cup in South Africa: practical considerations and personal dilemmas, in L. Platt (ed.), Critical event studies, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 37-57.

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