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Sport and development in academia


Sport and development in academia

An interview with two academics who work in the field of sport for peace and development: Dr. Ian Brittain from the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies of Coventry University, UK and Dr. Alexis Lyras, from the College of Education & Human Development, University of Louisville, USA speak to SportandDev about their academic research and findings in the field.


Could you elaborate on your methodology and your approach when dealing with research on this field?
I.B.: My main interest is the role of disability sport in promoting peace and social change and so I approach all my research from the perspective that most issues pertaining to disability are the result of environmental barriers and social attitudes towards disability (ie Social model of disability), whilst acknowledging that there will always be situations where some impairments may lead to unavoidable issues.
A.L.: Most of my research projects utilised a grounded theory methodology with a mixed methods design since the ultimate goal of the research I conducted over the last ten years was to provide an integrated, inter-disciplinary and applied SFD theory- that would help us understand the conditions and the process under which sport interventions can promote change and development.

SportandDev:  What have your academic conclusions been so far regarding the issue. Ian, can disability sport help effectively in the rehabilitation of victims of violent conflict? Alexis, what is the impact of theory oriented sport interventions in cross-cultural tolerance?
I.B.: Although I and my PhD student are both still in the very early stages of researching in the area of the impact of disability sport in the rehabilitation of victims of violent conflict there is a steadily growing body of evidence to suggest that sport can play a vital role in helping to re-build an individual’s identity in a positive manner as well as change the attitudes of the non-disabled population regarding the abilities and worth of people with disabilities.
A.L.: I would say that there is clear evidence that sport interventions, under certain “controlled” conditions and assumptions, can transform communities that have long history of inter-ethnic and inter-group hatred and conflict into inclusive and empowered communities that take actions towards change, peace and development. It is very important, though, not to oversimplify nor to overestimate this impact, since our field needs to provide more evidence about the transferability and the lasting effect of such interventions in every day life- and over time.

If you are interested in finding out more about the research of these two academics, contact Dr. Ian Brittain at and Dr. Alexis Lyras at


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Vangelis Alexandrakis


Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 23:00