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Sport for development and peace: Investigating the field

Sport for development and peace: Investigating the field

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Mariann Bardocz-Bencsik's PhD thesis aims to understand the SDP sector on a global scale.

In the past two decades sport and other forms of physical activity have been used deliberately to reach social development goals and as tools in peace-building and peace-keeping operations across the globe, within the so-called ‘sport for development and peace’ (SDP) field. The present doctoral thesis investigates the global SDP field, with an outlook on the Hungarian SDP scene.

Both SDP practice and research have been continuously growing since the mid-1990s on the global scale, however, in Hungary, it is yet to be known and acknowledged. This dissertation attempts to introduce the SDP sector to its potential Hungarian stakeholders encouraging them to discover and benefit from its so-far untapped potential.

Pierre Bourdieu’s ‘field theory’ (1978) is applied as an overarching theoretical framework of the research. A social field is an environment where different agents – organisations and individuals – exist and struggle for certain types of capitals, including economic, cultural and social capital. They do so according to their habitus, which is a set of deep-seated habits, dispositions and expectations based on former experience. Besides the field theory, four further concepts are employed in order to better understand the SDP sector. The concept of neocolonialism (Sartre 1964) explains the logic behind and the mechanism of many international development programmes, including sport for development and peace initiatives. The ‘sport plus’ and ‘plus sport’ concepts (Coalter 2007) are applied to illustrate the ways sport is being used in development projects. The sport for development programme theory (Coalter 2012) provides guidelines on how to properly construct an SDP programme. The ‘development celebrity’ and ‘star/poverty space’ concepts (Goodman and Barnes 2011) give a theoretical basis to understand high-profile athletes’ involvement in SDP.

The application of the field theory and the four above-mentioned concepts allows me to describe SDP as a relatively self-ruling field in the social spaces of sport and development, to understand its agents, their actions and the power relations within the field. The concept of neocolonialism and the ‘sport plus’ and ‘plus sport’ concepts are helpful when investigating the habitus of SDP actors, especially the way they address developmental challenges using sport. The sport for development programme theory gives guidance on the ideal habitus of actors to maximise the positive impact of SDP interventions. As high-profile athletes take advantage of their social capital when working in SDP as development celebrities, Goodman and Barnes’ concepts fit well into the theoretical framework.

The main objectives of the present research are to get a better understanding of the SDP sector on the global scale; the geographical characteristics, the age and the types of its stakeholders; with the challenges they encounter; along with investigating high-profile athletes’ involvement in SDP; with an outlook to the SDP context in Hungary.



Monday, March 1, 2021 - 10:48

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