June and July have been intensive months for national and international media, always on the lookout for original approaches in the coverage of the FIFA world cup in Brazil.
Given his publication record and his work for the FREE project, it is not surprising that David Ranc has found himself invited and quoted numerous times. For the media it is important to stand out among the ‘information tsunami’ around one of the world’s biggest mega-event. Informed analysis that goes beyond the tournament itself is, however, a scarce resource. As project manager of the FREE project and assistant professor at the EU-Asia Institute, David Ranc was in a position to provide such analysis and has done so on several occasions before and during the World Cup. A first press release with some preliminary results of a Europe-wide survey designed by the FREE project and carried out by the polling institute BVA under the direction of Céline Bracq was eagerly taken up by a large number of newspapers and websites in France after having been published by Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France. As invitee of the popular TV programme ‘20 heures foot’ on the iTélé newschannel, David had the opportunity to defend the interest of a comparative European survey designed by social scientists. The debate was a good occasion to verify that Pierre Bourdieu’s conclusion of twenty-five years ago – ‘the sociology of sport is always at risk to encounter a certain contempt both from intellectuals, for whom it is too trivial, and from the sportsmen themselves, for whom it is too intellectual’ – still rings a certain truth…
Press agencies, too, had significant interest in out-of-the-box considerations about the event. The international branch of the Agence France Presse was curious to hear what David had to say on the impact of the world cup on the construction of collective identities. Again, their release was picked up by numerous international newspapers. The funniest turnout was to be found on the homepage of ‘The Times of India’, where David found himself among the keywords of the day, right in the middle between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – quite a line-up!
Very often, media interest is highly superficial. There are, however, quality media who are interested in a more profound analysis of what football says about society. The French radio station ‘France Culture’, for instance, invited David to speak about the fascinating trajectory of the great Sócrates and his legendary experiment of the ‘Democracia Corinthiana’, following an article he had written with Albrecht Sonntag for the academic journal ‘Humanisme & Entreprise’ focusing on ‘creative organisations’. Following a reasonably ‘angry’ blogpost on rather contemptuous European/British attitudes towards the efforts of emerging countries – attitudes that are nothing short of Edward Saïd’s famous definition of ‘Orientalism’ – David even made the headlines in Brazil, both on television and in the social networks.
The final highlights of a very intensive media summer.