Qatar under construction : a study of the pre-event process of the 2022 FIFA World Cup as an identity construction
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Understanding identity through Social Identity Theory (SIT) and international status theory through a constructivist lens, provides an approach for understanding how a small power such as Qatar seeks to construct identity. It seeks to clarify how identity is constructed through emulation of shared norms and values, interactions and practices with a higher status-group. Hosting sports mega-events such as the FIFA World Cup provides Qatar with an opportunity to initiate favourable attraction despite possessing negative domestic socio-political characteristics. The case study I have chosen to examine is the pre-event planning process of the upcoming Qatar World Cup in 2022. In order for Qatar to prepare for the World Cup, Qatar will invest more than 200 billion USD in infrastructure for the World Cup and have appointed between 500,000 and 1,5 million migrant expats to prepare. It has been highlighted that the migrant expats constructing the required infrastructure are subjected to the violations of fundamental human rights. These findings have alienated Qatar by the West and have led to an outcry for Qatar to lose their hosting rights. By examining human rights reports through a secondary research approach, I will analyse how Qatar’s state practices and actions throughout the run-up process for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and their interactions with international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), construct identity. In addition, also seek to understand how this potentially alters their status at an international level. This thesis argues that Qatar’s state practices and the interactions with international NGOs challenge and disrupts Qatar’s wish to construct a positive and distinct social identity.