Sport for Development literature tends to focus on grassroots projects, and criticize top-down approaches. This is also true when considering the intersection of sport and refugees.
With millions of people displaced annually, a new perspective is needed to reconcile the "bottom-up" and "top-down" approaches.
This conceptual paper provides literature that frames traditional and contemporary issues embedded in the refugee and sport domains with a specific focus on the "top-down", "bottom-up" approaches Sport for Development stakeholders adopt.
From these stakeholder configurations, associated challenges, and complexities, the authors of the paper present a contemporary effort to challenge the "top" and "bottom" dichotomy; namely, by drawing parallels to the concept of clean minds (top) and dirty hands (bottom).
This discrepancy is looked at two ways: firstly through the authors' experiences and interpretations as members of the Olympic Refuge Foundation’s Think Tank; and secondly, by merging the “clean minds, dirty hands” concept with Lefebvre’s (1991) theory of social space.
Ultimately, the clean minds, dirty hands dichotomy is better represented as a spectrum that interacts with Lefebvre’s theory in unique ways.