Situating sport-for-development and the ‘sport for development and peace’ sector
Connecting ‘sport’ to ‘international development’
In October 2009, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted by consensus two resolutions regarding sport (document A/64/L.2 and A/64/L.3, United Nations General Assembly, 2009a, 2009b). In the first, they recognized the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver as an opportunity to build ‘a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal’ and to ‘uphold’ sport as a sector of society concerned with, and active in, the promotion of peace, inclusivity (particularly among the Aboriginal peoples of Canada1) and sustainable legacies for future generations. In the second, the UNGA welcomed and recognized the historical, social and developmental dimensions of the 2010 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup held in South Africa, the first time the event had been hosted on the African continent. In particular, the second resolution drew attention to the opportunity for sport – in this case association football (or soccer) – to support peace, solidarity and socio-economic development in South Africa and across the continent. In turn, the South African delegate to the United Nations (UN) extolled the social virtues of the World Cup as an opportunity for all citizens, of South Africa as well as the world, to be part of a single family, one unencumbered by the enduring human divisions of race, class, gender, skin colour, age or religion.
In this short and perhaps underreported or under-acknowledged pair of resolutions, the United Nations highlighted a series of important dimensions and connections between sport and the challenges of international development, dimensions that are increasingly recognized and institutionalized. Of particular note were the following.
One, the resolution invoked a recurring notion that the social dimensions, construction and organization of sport are particularly suited for bridging or overcoming the social divides that underpin many of the challenges and difficulties of international development. For example, in places where racial or ethnic conflict, post-war reconciliation, religious strife, gender inequality or divisions between rich and poor exist (or even predominate) and prevent the realization of sustainable and equitable development for all people, sport offers a way to bring stakeholders together to work towards the securing of international development goals. This convening ability is often ascribed particularly to football, given its popularity across diverse social and geographical contexts and its construction as a ‘universal language’.
Two, the resolutions referenced the enduring and often seemingly interminable and intractable challenges of international development and its traditional failings, and invoked the role of sport as a response. From this perspective, sport is increasingly understood to be able to make a contribution to the enduring global problems that have yet to be solved in the ‘development era’. One may take the starting point for this era to be the colonial impulses and practices of nineteenth-century Europe or the modernist version of contemporary development most often attached to United States (US) President Harry Truman who argued for the northern, ‘developed’ states to usher in a new era of post-war prosperity by participating in the development of the ‘Third World’. In either case, much of the efforts ascribed to and mobilized through the efforts of international development have failed to achieve the long-term and sustainable changes imagined, if not promised. Thus, the current mobilization of sport-for-development (SFD) can be understood as a response to the failure of development's traditional orthodoxy and a role for sport in filling a development void (Levermore and Beacom 2009).
Three, particularly with regard to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the resolutions spoke to the importance of the Global South, geographically, politically and even discursively in relation to Global sport. In this sense, even in the cases where the notions of development as a southern issue, or a project of benefits to be delivered from the North to the South, has been contested or rejected, there is still a sense of the South, both materially and metaphorically, as the quintessential site of development. On the one hand, there are objectively higher levels of, for example, poverty in the southern hemisphere and therefore the South is, in the materiality of the everyday, a disproportionate site for development initiatives and struggles. On the other hand, the South continues to be the site of the North's ‘development imagination’, one that is regularly informed by stereotypes as well as the relations of power that serve in the construction and maintenance of the political economy and a process of Othering. It is revelatory, then, that development (in this case through sport) is most oft-constituted or referred to as ‘international development’, given that it invokes the notion of development as a process required and performed in ‘Other’ parts of the world.
Four, the resolutions spoke to, or captured, the instrumental or functional notion of sport in relation to international development (see Coalter 2009). From this perspective, sport is increasingly positioned as a ‘tool’ or a means by or through which to achieve development goals. This stands in distinction to the notions of sport as an activity or pastime, sport as a sociocultural construction and/or sport as an intimate part of the processes by which the social and political world is negotiated and formed. From the functionalist perspective, sport is recognized by the cultural role it fulfils and, in the case of the UN resolutions, considered a relatively benign cultural institution that serves to bring people together or even transcend the dogged social and political challenges of international development that have largely prevented the achievement of development goals. From a critical perspective, its function is but one way to theorize sport in society.
Five, the resolutions invoked the idea that sport may be a politically palatable, non-threatening and/or effective tool for bringing together diverse people within and across the borders of nation states. The connection between sport, nationalism and the building of nations in this sense is positioned as an opportunity to work towards the inclusive and peaceful achievement of a functioning and prosperous nation-as-community, one that bypasses or usurps racism, patriarchy or material inequalities that have so often proved difficult in the construction and operation of inclusive and peaceful communities and nations.
Six, the incredible popularity of sport around the world, as the focus of physical and consumer activities, was recognized in the resolutions as part of its utility and contribution to meeting international development goals. From this point of view, sport as a popular dimension of culture, and a dimension of popular culture, holds social significance and sport organizations enjoy undeniable political clout. Put differently, given that sport is such an important part of the social experiences of so many around the world, sport is understood to have a potential role in improving the lot of marginalized people in different geopolitical contexts and contributing to the process of overcoming the dogged development challenges of our time.
Seven, the resolutions recognized the increasing development potential and importance attached to major games or sports mega-events. Whereas previously understood as a means primarily or even exclusively to celebrate athletic achievement and a way by which cities and nation states can establish and assert their international reputation, increasingly sports mega-events like the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup are understood to serve a development purpose both soft – building social cohesion, increasing community participation, positive national identification etc. – and hard – mobilizing public funds, improving infrastructure, attracting foreign investment etc. From this point of view, sports mega-events, their organization and funding are intimately tied to international development issues.
All of these dimensions of the two UN resolutions speak to the social and political challenges of mobilizing sport to meet international development goals, particularly the attainment of equitable, sustainable, healthy and self-determined livelihoods for the world's disadvantaged peoples. These kinds of initiatives are now often described as SFD programmes, given that they explicitly engage and organize sport to improve the lives and life chances of the world's poor and marginalized, often in the Global South. The purpose of this book is to bring a sociological view to bear on such initiatives and the burgeoning ‘sport for development and peace’ (SDP) sector that is made up of many of these international organizations that support and implement SFD programmes.
The text takes as its starting point that while important socio-managerial work has been, and will continue to be, done regarding what the mobilization of sport can do to effect sustainable social change in various contexts around the world, there are important theoretical and critical questions that need to be asked of the SDP sector. These are not questions that seek to discredit or derail the momentum of SDP, the notion of SFD or any contributions (potential or actual) of sport to meeting development goals, but rather questions that are concerned with the political and social implications of SFD and SDP. These questions also proceed from an idea central to critical development scholarship, namely that questions and critical analyses of power and politics make for better policies and programmes (Nustad 2001).
The book is written from the perspective that every scholarly endeavour is beholden to the political and practical utility that it creates or attempts to carve out for itself. As Alcoff (1991) has argued, where a text goes, for whom it is intended and why it is needed are of central importance to the activity that is critical scholarship. While this text is not written as a manual or set of best practices for how to do SDP work, it is inextricably linked to the question of what sport, physical activity and sport culture can do to make the world a more just and equitable place, and it is these concerns for social justice that inform the analyses. A sociological understanding of power is key. Relations of power underpin sport and international development, respectively, and are therefore of central importance to the study of SDP. This is the ‘praxis’ of the book, by which I refer to the mobilization of theory and analysis towards critically informed practice.
The main argument of the book then is twofold. One, from a sociopolitical perspective, I suggest that those interested in SFD and SDP would be well served to think of the sector as more than a process requiring ‘monitoring & evaluation’ (M&E) or managerial refinement in order to determine how best it works. While M&E is no doubt important, I argue that without an associated critical analysis, a strictly managerial approach can slip into the theory of development as a process of linear improvement or modernization, which has serious limitations given that it regularly fails to challenge the relations of power, privilege and dominance that result in a small number of international haves and a large number of international have-nots. Rather, I argue that we need to think of the implications of hitching sport to the development paradigm and ask social questions (e.g. who are the targets of SDP?), political questions (what kind of world view is championed through SDP?) and material questions (what inequalities exist and how does SDP respond?) of the SDP sector.
Two, from a perspective of theory and research, there is genuine potential to consider the implications of the increasingly institutionalized relationship between sport and international development by deliberating on the insights of critical sport and critical development studies, both respectively and in conjunction. That is, the critical study of SDP need not reinvent the theoretical or methodological wheel in order to construct a sound, comprehensive and cogent framework for analysis. We need, rather, to consider the potential connections and synthesis between critical studies of sport and development, a modest contribution that I take on in the following pages.
To do so, I do focus primarily on the activities within SDP as they are currently mobilized along the traditional lines of northern organizations and southern beneficiaries. I am not proposing, in this short text, to explore all of the possibilities, theoretical and practical, of connecting sport to development initiatives, though much important work remains to be done in this regard. Rather, I am most focused in this book on the international bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have taken an increased interest in SFD in recent years. While this does something of a disservice to the myriad conceptions of development itself that are possible in relation to sport, a notion that I explore to a degree throughout the text (also see Hartmann and Kwauk 2011), this focus is justifiable and important for at least three reasons: One, this focus on northern organizations is where critical scholarly attention has lacked in recent years, given the propensity to focus on the recipients or targets of SDP initiatives and to do so, in some cases, at the expense of broader relations of power. Two, this focus does not undermine southern agency, given that southern agency is rarely included in northern representations and regimes of power in development (see Biccum 2010). And three, it provides a basis from which to theorize new or previously unexamined connections between sport and international development to the benefit of future research, practice and activism.
In sum, the text is guided by an ethical and political investigation of SDP and the current mobilization of SFD. I follow Gasper (2004: xii) in this regard who argues that the ethics of development can be conceptualized in three stages: ethical concerns about development policies and the experiences they afford, ethical examinations of the core concepts and theories employed to understand those experiences and actions, and then the ethics of development practice. Also similar to Gasper, this text focuses primarily on the first two stages, with the third (which speaks more to ‘development ethics’ than ‘the ethics of development’) largely beyond the scope of the book and requiring a methodology (i.e. ethnographic fieldwork) beyond the historical, textual and interview methods employed here. This is not to suggest that the development ethics of SDP are not important; indeed it is hoped that the analysis offered in this book will go some way towards a more theoretically and critically informed body of future SDP research.
The remainder of this introductory chapter proceeds in seven parts. Next, I offer a brief discussion of key terms and tenets in SDP, and the major stakeholders involved. This is followed by a short historical/political overview of the momentum underpinning SDP, particularly at the supra- and international level. I follow with an introduction to the theoretical framework employed in the text, an outline of some of the social and political paradoxes that underpin SDP and a discussion of SDP amidst theoretical understandings of social movements. The Introduction concludes with a preview of subsequent chapters.
SDP: Terms and tenets
In general, sport-for-development – sometimes used interchangeably with sport-in-development (SID) – describes the specific mobilization and implementation of sport as a means of meeting the goals and challenges of international development. Important here is the understanding that SFD and SID are distinct from ‘sports development’, which refers to the social and political processes by which the organizational and institutional world of sport is formed. Whereas sport development is principally concerned with improving the world of sport (from which broader social development is often presumed to follow), sport-for-development takes issues of development as its primary focus and sport as a means of tackling them.2
Coalter (2009, 2010a, 2010b) has described this distinction as ‘sport plus’ versus ‘plus sport’, where a sport plus approach focuses on sport development and plus sport takes development as its goal and positions sport in support of achieving development. While both sport development and SFD (or sport plus and plus sport) can and do find their way into the topics and examples covered in this text, the book is focused primarily on SFD and plus sport. I am interested in unpacking and analysing the implications of positioning and mobilizing sport as a means of achieving development, a perspective not necessarily captured in and through sport development processes, policies and literatures.
To that end, throughout the remainder of the text, I follow Kidd by using the term ‘sport for development and peace’ to describe the momentum and organization of and interest in SFD. I am in favour of this term for several reasons: First, it captures the SFD or plus sport perspective under a tidy title. Second, it includes a distinct reference to peace building or conflict resolution, a topic that needs to be included within international development but is not reducible to international development. And third, it considers SDP, in the manner constructed and described by Kidd, in relation to New Social Movements, an important characteristic and one that I analyse in more detail below.
It is also important to acknowledge the diversity of programmes and policies that exist under the title of SDP. While SDP programmes range in size, scope and focus, all incorporate sport – understood, in the broadest sense, to include play and physical activity – to promote social change within a paradigm of international development. Levermore (2008: 56) has provided important classificatory analyses of SDP and posited that SDP programmes fall into seven categories defined by the development outcomes that they seek in and through the organization and mobilization of sport and physical culture. These are conflict resolution, cultural understanding, infrastructure development, educational awareness, the empowerment of marginalized groups, encouragement of physical activity and health, and driving economic development. In addition, several organizations, like Commonwealth Games Canada and Right to Play, offer internships or volunteer opportunities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the Global South.3
Levermore's classification illustrates the breadth of initiatives and organizations that fall under the broad catchment of the SDP title, and SDP organizations can be found that fall under each of his seven categories. For the purposes of this introduction, however, I follow the UN Inter-agency Task Force on Sport and Development and Peace (United Nations 2003: 26) that suggests that SDP programmes fall into three broad categories – social, health and economic development. As context for the analyses that follow, I provide a brief (though by no means complete or exhaustive) overview of the three categories and examples of organizations that fit therein.
Social issues attended to in international development and SDP include poverty, lack of education, gender inequality, human insecurity and displacement, and conflict. Arguably, Right to Play enjoys the highest profile among SDP organizations concerned with such social issues. Originally known as Olympic Aid, the organization grew out of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, due in part to the athletic success of its founder, Norwegian speed skater Johann Olav Koss. Koss parlayed his performance in Lillehammer into donations used to deliver sport and play opportunities for children living in poverty, primarily in Africa. In 2001, as a non-governmental organization, Olympic Aid began direct programme implementation to facilitate physical and social development among marginalized youth in the Global South. Olympic Aid transitioned to Right to Play in 2003. By the end of 2009, Right to Play was providing regular weekly sport and physical activity to 700,000 children supported by 15,000 local coaches and leaders (Right to Play 2011). The organization also benefits from an ‘International Team of Athlete Ambassadors’, including many celebrity athletes, that lend support and prestige to Right to Play's efforts (Right to Play 2011).
Other humanitarian organizations also hold sport as their central mandate. PLAY SOCCER Nonprofit International has been operating since 2001 and oversees a network of national organizations in Africa. Through the training of local volunteer coaches and leaders, Play Soccer programmes facilitate ‘activity-based games that empower children by helping them experience, practice and acquire new healthy habits, attitudes and social skills, while they play the game’ (Play Soccer 2011). Similarly, Sports Sans Frontières (SSF) views sport as an essential activity fundamental to the healthy development of children. Working in places as disparate as Afghanistan, Burundi, Kosovo and Haiti, SSF advocates for sport as ‘a universal language of our time, a driver of cohesion and mobilization, a means to bring reassurance and stability … (and) a new vehicle for development, both of the individual and of the community’ (SSF 2011). As well, SCORE – an NGO operating under the vision ‘To Change Lives and Build Stronger Communities through Sport’ – operates programmes, including Cup of Heroes and Living Sport across South Africa, that are designed to support, empower and celebrate community development and sport opportunities.
Organizations concerned with post-war reconciliation and sustainable conflict resolution have also turned to sport and play as tools of social development.4 For example, Open Fun Football Schools (OFFS) is a cooperative project of the Danish NGO Cross Cultures Project Association, the Norwegian Football Association and the Gerlev Sports Academy. OFFS employs ‘football-as-fun’ as the basis of a pedagogical framework to facilitate democracy, peace and social cohesion in the former Yugoslavia and other parts of south-east Europe. Similarly, Soccer for Peace and Football for Peace have used soccer as a non-violent means of social interaction in the Middle East. For these organizations, the global popularity of the game makes soccer both a metaphor and a vehicle of peace building (Soccer for Peace 2011).5
Health and education
SDP initiatives are also concerned with health issues such as the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus and/or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and immunization against preventable diseases. For example, Right to Play directs resources towards HIV/AIDS prevention in places like Botswana where the population has suffered from the pandemic. Positioning their work as a supplement to government-led initiatives, Right to Play mobilizes sport to support education about HIV/AIDS, and support and promote gender equality towards reducing the spread of infections.
Right to Play is not the only SDP NGO concerned with HIV/AIDS. Grassroot Soccer (2011) also uses the interest in football and the popularity and cultural influence of famous players to support HIV/AIDS education and prevention in Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. Similarly, Kicking AIDS Out! (KAO!) designs and implements sport-based educational programmes to improve awareness and prevention in African communities confronting the AIDS pandemic. Notably, KAO! is a project of the EduSport Foundation, an NGO based in Zambia, and is designed by and for African citizens, in contrast to many SDP NGOs whose organizational roots are North American and European.
The third category of SDP initiatives focuses on economic issues such as the building of local capacities, employment and environmental protection. The best example is Alive and Kicking, an ‘African social enterprise’ started by the late Jim Cogan, which works to provide soccer balls for youth, jobs for adults and promote health education at the same time (Alive and Kicking 2011). The programme is designed to spur local economies and provide affordable sporting equipment to youth in impoverished communities in support of health promotion and physical activity. Soccer balls manufactured through the Alive and Kicking programme, for example, are labelled with educational messages about HIV/AIDS and malaria. Furthermore, according to the International Platform on Sport and Development, running races in Peru, such as the Inca Marathon, the Andes International Marathon and the Huancayo Race, have led to the development of local shoe building industries for runners (Sportanddev.org 2011, Developing Local Markets through Sport).
Admittedly, a complete overview of the SDP sector and its constitutive organizations is beyond the scope of this Introduction. However, it is reasonable to argue that what unifies SDP, and what secures its political orientation or ethos, is a commitment to sport in support of egalitarian and sustainable development. Egalitarian development is understood here as supporting the access for all to basic human needs and of redressing the current cultural and political economy that prevents such access. Sustainable development is recognized by the UN Inter-agency Task Force and references the importance of social equity, economic development and environmental protection through ‘development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (United Nations General Assembly 1987). Clearly, no organization that can be termed to support the momentum of SDP is interested in exacerbating poverty, poor health or disempowerment or securing socio- or geopolitical dominance. The goals, then, of SDP are laudable and no reasonable analyst, critical or otherwise, would argue against the importance of development amidst sustained poverty. To that end, my arguments in the chapters that follow are not against the general tenor of SDP that supports better conditions of life for the world's poorest and most marginalized. Rather, my critical analysis focuses on the political orientation for securing change employed within SDP, the notions of sport that SDP regularly presupposes and secures, and the understandings of development politics that are embraced within the sector. I share then, with SDP organizations, stakeholders and proponents, a goal of mobilizing sport in support of sustainable development; my critical analysis is based on the contestations of the politics and means of achieving this goal.
A variety of stakeholders are involved in SDP. There are literally hundreds of organizations that are interested and active, in some form or another, in mobilizing sport towards the goals of international development. This text cannot provide an exhaustive overview or analysis of all of the stakeholders if for no other reason than they are constantly adding and being changed. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize the diversity of the organizations involved.
First and foremost, the United Nations has taken an active role in supporting the SDP sector, particularly through the organization of the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) and the creation of a Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General concerned with SDP (currently Wilfried Lemke). The UNOSDP does not implement SDP programmes or initiatives but rather supports the mobilization of SFD and facilitates the organization and communication of various other SDP stakeholders. Not to be overlooked, of course, is the extent to which UN support lends the sector cultural and political legitimacy, particularly within civil society and among advocates of non-governmental or rights-based development policy.
These kinds of advocates include non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the ones described above, which arguably are the hub of the SDP sector as they organize and implement many of the SDP initiatives currently underway around the world. In Chapter 4–Chapter 6, I draw on interviews with representatives of various SDP organizations in order to explore the political orientation and development practices of NGO-led SDP programmes. By no means, however, are NGOs the only organizations working to implement SDP programmes. Not surprising given the commodification of contemporary sporting culture, various corporations (sport-focused and otherwise) have also taken an active role in SDP. Again, Levermore (2011) has provided important classificatory analyses of this, particularly the ways in which SDP offers corporations an opportunity to implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. While little monitoring of the impact and/or success of these SDP for CSR projects takes place (see Levermore 2011) it is important to recognize that corporate funding for SDP is available and that the relatively non-threatening politics of mobilizing SFD provide an attractive opportunity for international corporate entities to construct reputations as responsible corporate citizens.
In turn, stakeholders in SDP include key organizations and individuals from the world of high-performance, professional and elite sport. Included here are professional sport organizations like England's Football Association (FA) and the US-based National Basketball Association (NBA), which supports development and the general parameters of SDP through initiatives like Basketball without Borders (see Millington 2010). As well, the world's pre-eminent supranational sporting organizations are involved in SDP. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) now lists ‘Development through Sport’ as a component of ‘Olympism in Action’ with the mandate to ‘[b]uild a better world by developing programmes that provide concrete responses to social inequality’.6 The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) operates Football for Hope, which ‘supports programmes all over the world that combine football and social development’7 – a scheme that received considerable publicity and advertising during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
As well, the confluence of sport, capital and media underpinning the contemporary phenomenon of athletes as cultural celebrities has found its way into SDP to the extent that famous athletes – like NBA star Steve Nash and tennis idol Roger Federer – support international development initiatives (sporting or otherwise) through their charitable foundations. Through SDP, athletes like Nash and Federer (in a manner akin to celebrity activists like rock star Bono) have become important arbiters of development funding and practice.
Finally, it is important to recognize the extent to which the state and national governments are interested and involved in SDP programming and policy. That is, even though governments tend to be less active in SDP than organizations like the United Nations or IOC or various NGOs, governments are involved in supporting the mobilization of SFD. Huish (2011), for example, has explored the role of the Cuban state in supporting the training of professional coaches across the southern hemisphere as a form of sport-based solidarity. Furthermore, the Government of Canada's Ministry of Heritage and Youth Employment Strategies support the SDP internship programme organized by Commonwealth Games Canada (see Chapter 3). Understanding the role of the state in SDP is therefore important for at least two reasons: One, it stands as a means of comparative analysis, particularly in relation to the predominance of civil society actors within the SDP sector, and two, it recognizes the calls in recent years for the state to take a more active role in SDP such that it could make SFD more publicly focused, committed and available to citizens (Kidd 2008; Njelesani 2011).
SFD: Historical and political context
The October 2009 UN Resolutions were not the first concerned with sport. On 3 November 2003, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed Resolution 58/5, entitled ‘Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace’. Acknowledging the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport, and the UNITSDP, the resolution called for various stakeholders (the United Nations, governments, sport institutions and specialized agencies) to promote sport and physical education as part of development programmes and policies. The resolution also advocated for the utility of sport-based programmes in order to meet the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)8 and for a focus on partnerships and cooperation ‘in order to promote a culture of peace and social and gender equality and to advocate dialogue and harmony’ (UN General Assembly 2003).
These invocations of sport as a socially productive and transformative cultural form that are characteristic of the SDP sector have strong historical antecedents in European and northern cultures (Kidd 2008: 371). In the Victorian era of the nineteenth century, emergent class-informed, bourgeois sensibilities led to new understandings of sport participation focused on the development of discipline and character. No longer merely escapism or an excuse to participate in debauchery, sport became linked to ‘rational recreation’, characterized by organization, codification and competition (Guttmann 1978). By the end of the nineteenth century, such connections were made explicit within movements of religious reform, and masculine sport participation as a way to develop and discipline the body was encouraged by Protestant leaders in support of ‘Muscular Christianity’ (Bouchier 1994; Putney 2001). By the early twentieth century, a ‘playground movement’ emerged, in which working-class demands for access to safe recreation, coupled with owning-class desires for a productive work force, made possible the development of physical activity facilities, deemed central to social and physical health and well-being (Ingham and Hardy 1984). In all of these cases, participation in sport and physical activity was presumed to offer tangible and sustainable benefits that extended beyond just playing the game.
Resolution 58/5 in 2003 represented high-profile recognition and institutionalization of such logic. While humanitarian groups and non-governmental organizations had previously used sport and physical education within their programmes, Resolution 58/5 lent international legitimacy to SFD. It also recognized the diversity of programmes and interventions under the banner of SDP. While discussing the potential of sport, then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated:
Sport is a universal language. At its best it can bring people together, no matter what their origin, background, religious beliefs or economic status. And when young people participate in sports or have access to physical education, they can experience real exhilaration even as they learn the ideals of teamwork and tolerance. That is why the United Nations is turning more and more to the world of sport for help in our work for peace and our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. (United Nations 2004)
Implicit within Annan's remarks was the notion that the universality of sport, and sport as a cross-cultural language, is compatible with the mandate of international development based on universal human rights. However, while the acceptance and support of the universality of sport and human rights – and their compatibility – lends the SDP sector its social and political credibility, this perspective requires (and largely perpetuates) essentialist assumptions regarding culture and human organization. This is particularly significant given that SDP initiatives often take place in countries with histories of colonization and marginalization in global and geopolitics. Mobilizing sport to meet international development goals in the post-colonial world is implicated in this history.
Furthermore, as Maguire (2006: 107; 2008) has argued, mobilizing sport towards the attainment of development goals begs for analysis of sport's organization, dissemination and impact as well as critical consideration of the extent to which dominant sporting forms are conducive to meeting the goals of international development. This is called for given the regular invocations of sport's inherent positivity – what I refer to as the tendency to ‘essentialize’ the sporting experience in development and SDP – that are useful in substantiating the sector and, perhaps more importantly, presenting the mobilization of SFD as natural and largely apolitical. Such invocations are evident in the regularly cited (see, for example, Coalter 2010b) description of sport's contribution to development within 2005 report of the UNITSDP:
The world of sport presents a natural partnership for the United Nations’ system. By its very nature sport is about participation. It is about inclusion and citizenship. Sport brings individuals and communities together, highlighting commonalities and bridging cultural or ethnic divides. Sport provides a forum to learn skills such as discipline, confidence and leadership and it teaches core principles such as tolerance, cooperation and respect. Sport teaches the value of effort and how to manage victory, as well as defeat. When these positive aspects of sport are emphasized, sport becomes a powerful vehicle through which the United Nations can work towards achieving its goals. (United Nations 2005)
The issue is not that such romanticized notions of sport and its social, political and pedagogical values are necessarily wrong but rather that they are neither inherent nor essential to the sporting experience. In fact, the tradition of critical sports studies has forcefully illustrated the ways in which dominant sporting forms can be implicated in gendered (e.g. Burstyn 1999) and racialized hierarchies (e.g. Carrington 2010; Hylton 2009), the securing of hetero-normativity (e.g. Lenskyj 1986, 1993) as well as dominant relations of social class (e.g. Donnelly and Harvey 2007). Furthermore, critical scholarship has shown that organized sporting forms serve as regimes of discipline as much as catalysts of cultural freedom and self-expression (e.g. Shogan 1999). In turn, the ability of sport in any essential form to support sustainable development on an international scale is complicated by the extent to which the control of ‘global sport’ still rests primarily in dominant, northern capitalist nations (Maguire 2006: 111). Key then, for critical scholars, is the judicious application of critical theory in order to make sense of the ways in which sport and its organization, culture and politics are negotiated and organized within the contemporary SDP setting.
A theoretical approach to SDP
Given the limits of essentializing sport, a critical analysis of SDP is called for. In the broadest sense, three distinct (but, I argue, complementary) theoretical/philosophical/sociopolitical frameworks guide the analyses in this text to varying degrees: Gramscian hegemony, Foucauldian bio-power and post-colonial theory. In addition, I employ insights from critical pedagogy and ethics in order to argue for an approach to SDP that is self-reflexive in its understanding of sport-based interventions. Each of these major frameworks are useful for the sociological analysis of SDP because (a) they all have a tradition in the study of sport and international development, respectively, and (b) they all speak to the construction, operation and maintenance of relations of power and thus make a contribution to the analytical focal point and purpose of this text.
First and foremost, Gramscian hegemony illustrates the ways in which ideas attain a notion of common sense within relations of dominance and consent. For Gramsci (1971), this necessitated an understanding of the processes by which relatively powerful groups secure their hegemonic position in and through social and political negotiation with subordinated classes, particularly in the cultural sphere. In the study of sport, physical activity and leisure, Gramscian theory has been used to illustrate how the construction of sporting institutions, the opportunities to participate and the meanings ascribed to physical activity and recreation are mediated in and through relations of power. Sport is not a benign social institution; it is a product of interactions between the relatively powerful/powerless. Similarly, in development scholarship and theorizing, hegemony has been used to examine and understand how poor and marginalized persons and populations struggle for self-determination from relatively powerless positions. Understanding these processes is crucial, I argue, for the study of SDP because of the enduring rhetoric and positioning of sport as a universal experience that too often results in theories of sport as external to power. By extension, the use of hegemony theory reduces the tendency to obscure or subsume the relations of power that underpin development and the reasons why people are relatively ‘underdeveloped’ in the first place. This criticism also harkens to the fact that the act of working towards development (through sport or otherwise) is itself an act of power, an idea highlighted by theories of power in the Foucauldian tradition.
In distinction from Gramsci's theorizing of the interactions and negotiations between groups within relations of power, Foucault theorized power as productive or the ability to confer positive change and encourage action deemed appropriate and civil. Bio-power was Foucault's (1978) theoretical means of situating this power across the two poles of the body and the population. In sport and the study of the physically active body, such theorizing has been used to understand the disciplining of bodies and subsuming of freedoms that is often central to the success of athletic performance and achievement. In development studies, Foucault's theorizing has been instrumental in illustrating how the inequalities that result from the organization and maintenance of the political economy are often reduced to, or subsumed by, the bio-political or governmental focus on the conduct of marginalized people. In both cases, it is important to note that Foucault also strongly advocated for a commitment to ethics as part of the understanding of the operations of power. The moment and/or site at which positive change is conferred become a moment/site of the working of power that necessitates a concomitant analysis of the ethical implications. This understanding of ethics is a central tenet of this text's praxis.
Post-colonial theory has a tradition in both sport and development studies as well. Post-colonial theory is not only concerned with the era or epoch after southern countries were ‘freed’ from the institutional and economic shackles of the European colonial project. In addition, post-colonial theory focuses on the enduring regimes of power and knowledge that proceeded from the dominance of racialized persons by northern stewards through notions of prosperity, respectability and social change (see Hesse 2002). In sport studies, such theorizing has illustrated that sport and physical education were not only a central part of the civilizing mission of northern states and people but also that many of the sports that are now recognized for their global popularity, geographic reach and/or ‘universality’ could have only emerged in and through these colonial relations (Saavedra 2009). In development studies, post-colonial theory has pointed to the ways in which the need for development was and continues to be constituted in and through structural relations of colonization. In addition, regimes of truth and understandings of northern benevolence, stewardship and even ‘helping’ are often similar to, and may therefore do little to challenge, the colonial understanding of the helpless, passive, inferior Other (Heron 2007).
My point in advocating the use of these three approaches is not to conflate them; indeed, I am aware of and sensitive to the criticism that the deployment of various theoretical models within a single study or analysis is at best inconsistent and at worst irresponsible within the tradition of the social sciences (see Andrews 2000). However, I justify this use of multiple theories in two ways: One, the deployment of Foucauldian understandings of discourse and productive power in conjunction with Gramscian politics has been used to good effect, in particular by eminent post-colonial theorists like Edward Said (1978) as well as within more contemporary ethnographic analyses of the social politics of international development (see Asher 2009; Li 2007). In turn, and two, the complementary use of hegemony and bio-power proceeds from the perspective that critical scholars can, and should, use all theoretical and methodological tools available in the study and challenge of oppression. From this compound standpoint approach, the issue is less the consistency of, and match between, the paradigms and more the utility of the paradigms to explain the workings of power and lend insights to the analysis of their implications (De Lissovoy 2008a). Of course, this approach does not afford any scholar (interested in SDP or otherwise) free reign to apply or mix and match any and all theoretical approaches but does allow a measure of freedom to approach the workings of power from a variety of perspectives.9
Paradoxes of development and paradoxes in SFD
Perhaps then, the critical focus of this book is best conceptualized as a commitment to the exploration of the differing perspectives and understandings of development and sport, as well as the political dimensions of both, within SDP. Black (2010) has drawn attention to the ‘ambiguity’ of development in SDP, exemplified by the importance of tempering a commitment to social and political change with the critical analysis of stewardship and relations of power. Here, I would add that SDP is exemplary of a number of paradoxes that, rather than paralyze the sector, can serve as important reminders of the fraught political territory that any development initiative necessarily inhabits.
For example, Li (2007) has drawn attention to the contradictions within international development initiatives particularly as they are organized, mobilized and implemented by international organizations or NGOs. She points out the contradiction between the promotion of capitalist processes, which rest on a competitive advantage, and the concern to facilitate a better lot for the relatively marginalized and dispossessed. This is what Biccum (2010) refers to as the traditional ‘dual mandate’ of development – to increase the reach and profit of capitalist endeavours while championing the welfare of poor natives. This dual mandate dovetails with the contradiction within development initiatives that seek to improve partnerships between development trustees (i.e. NGOs, International Financial Institutions or IFIs, development volunteers) and the ‘deficient subjects’ who stand as the targets of development initiatives but serve in turn to necessarily re-inscribe these social and political boundaries (Li 2007: 31).
While not a perfect match to SDP, I submit that the critical analysis of development paradoxes and contradictions drawn out by scholars like Biccum and Li can also be seen in SDP, in at least four ways. First, there is a political contradiction within SDP, given that while few would argue that development is apolitical, sport in the service of development or peace is often presented as politically non-threatening or ‘value-neutral’ (see Sugden 2006). This apolitical presentation of sport is then offered as evidence of its usefulness or applicability to meeting development goals. Second, the notion of sport as universal, discussed above, raises the question of why NGOs take up the task of mobilizing SFD. If sport is universal, what knowledge are SDP NGOs imparting? Certainly, in a plus sport formulation, sport is an entry point towards promoting other ideas and pursuing other goals, but the point remains that the presumed universality of sport undermines the urgency or necessity of SDP at least to a degree. Furthermore, as I explore in subsequent chapters, the promotion of the importance of sport itself remains embedded within many SDP activities, a position that seems at odds with the universal notion of sport.
Third, there are paradoxes of power within SDP. Sport for Development and Peace – International Working Group stated in its 2006 report that governments, particularly in developing nations, need to be convinced of the importance and utility of SFD. If sport constitutes an accessible and participatory means of supporting egalitarian development, through what logic or political motivation do developing nations need convincing? Finally, I would suggest that a contradiction can be seen in the ways that sport itself is often positioned as a successful development tool within SDP, but one also beholden to the meeting of other particular conditions (such as that it be organized in an inclusive manner and/or situated as part of a broader development plan). By the essentialist logic of sport's utility, should not sport take care of these development complexities? What this suggests, I submit, is that the political commitment to egalitarian development or conflict resolution is more important than the application of sport to meeting development goals (see Darnell 2011a). This does not mean that sport offers nothing to meeting development goals but reminds scholars and activists of the limits of essentializing sport and, in turn, that struggles for development are inherently neither enhanced nor reduced by the act of organizing sporting opportunities.
SDP as/and new social movements
Finally, then, it is necessary to address, at least briefly, the extent to which SDP in its current incarnation is representative of a New Social Movement as Kidd (2008) has suggested. Throughout this text, I resist the tendency to refer to SDP as a ‘movement’, though I do acknowledge the attractiveness of the term for describing the momentum and institutionalization of SDP. Such momentum is evident through the leadership and commitments made by the United Nation's Office on Sport for Development and Peace, high-profile NGOs and financial support from national governments, particularly northern donor countries like Norway, Britain, Germany and Canada as well as corporate and charitable foundations. It is also tempting to use the term ‘movement’ in recognition of the ways that stakeholders themselves consider and position SDP or to situate the SDP sector at the particular intersection of civil society, international aid and development philanthropy.
However, given the questions of power and politics that are central to this text, terming SDP as a ‘movement’ diverges significantly and problematically from the generally accepted sociological understanding of New Social Movements, which traditionally referred to the struggles for individual and cultural reform of the 1960s and 1970s and were preceded by the socialist, workers movements of newly industrialized societies (Wieviorka 2005). In turn, as Wieviorka (2005: 8) argues, ‘the era of “new social movements” is behind us now’, replaced by Global Movements (most famously the Zapatista Movement in Chiapas, Mexico). These Global Movements moved beyond a fixed focus on the nation state and towards an integrated demand for cultural recognition, political reform and economic self-determination, and did so through ‘a loose conglomeration campaigning against a vague, impersonal and poorly identified opponent’ (Wieviorka 2005: 8).
It would be a mistake to suggest that SDP bears none of the hallmarks of Global Movements; to be sure, there are some important parallels that can be drawn between Global Movements and SDP. SDP is a relatively loose conglomeration and is concerned with reform beyond the nation state – for example, the establishment of Olympic AID/Right to Play, aligned temporally and politically with the movement among athletes and stakeholders for a renewed ethics in the Olympic Games, and the Olympic Movement itself, particularly in the wake of performance-enhancing drug use, bribery scandals and a general lack of faith in the purity of high-performance sport. In June 1999 athletes, administrators and researchers established Olympic Advocates Together Honourably (OATH) to promote ethical values and democratic reforms towards the ‘peaceful fulfillment of human potential’.10 It is reasonable to argue that such invocations of elite sporting reform led, at least in part, to the notion that sport could ‘do more’ to make the world a better place, an ethos that serves as a basis for many SDP initiatives.
However, as I argue throughout this text, the current political orientation and practice of much of SDP tends to align with facilitating – or ‘empowering’ in the parlance of SFD – the better participation of the relatively marginalized or dispossessed within the current (capitalist) cultural and political economy. This approach is qualitatively different from New Social and Global Movements that resist the machinations of global capital and social hierarchies that construct and sustain inequality. In this way, even though the ‘opponent’ of Global Movements tends to be vague, there tends to be no opponents at all in SDP save for the poor or improper motivation, conduct, education, health or material existence of the world's poor people. SDP, in this sense, focuses on securing upward mobility more so than challenging the structures of inequality. Such an ethos clearly limits the extent to which SDP can (or should) be considered a New Social or Global Movement.
This apparent misalignment between current or ‘mainstream’ SDP discourse and Global Movements of the kind described by Wieviorka does not mean that grassroots or oppositional organizations do not feature within the SDP community, or within its social and political imagination,11 but does serve to make the point that SDP is not representative of all of the possible connections between sport and international development or, perhaps more importantly, of all of the possible political orientations towards redressing global inequality that coalesce in and around sport. In addition to Harvey, Horne and Safai's (2009) analysis of sport organizations committed to alter-globalization, there is a strong case to be made that, despite the hosting of a global online platform (sportanddev.org) and convening organizations (like the UNOSDP and streetfootballworld), a host of local, sport-based development initiatives take place around the world that predate and/or do not feature prominently within the SDP sector or its institutional structures (Lindsay and Grattan, in press; Nicholls 2010). Documenting and understanding these groups, and making sense of them in comparative analysis to more mainstream SDP activities, is beyond the scope of this text but is an important, ongoing opportunity and challenge for researchers interested in SFD around the world (see Gruneau, in press) and the sociology of sport more broadly (see Wilson 2007). For the purposes of this book, the analyses in the following chapters focus on the political orientations, relations of power and production of knowledge within the comparatively ‘mainstream’ SDP sector and the implications thereof. To this extent, SDP can be understood to have political momentum and coherence, but an orientation that is particular, not universal, in its approach to development and its understandings of the role of sport on an international scale.
Overview of the book
The remainder of this book is organized into seven chapters. In Chapter 1, I revisit some foundational theories and studies from the scholarly tradition of sport sociology in order to set out an understanding of sport that rejects essentialisms and focuses on the constitutive effects of political economy and relations of power/knowledge. In particular, I examine the ways in which sport has been understood through Gramscian, Foucauldian and post-colonial theory as well as how sport has been connected to the notion of universal human rights. I argue that the study of sport in SDP can positively and critically draw on all of these perspectives in ways that are complementary and mutually informative to the sociological analysis of SDP.
Chapter 2 is concerned primarily with the history and politics of international development, an understanding of which I argue is required, and should be central, to any sustained, critical understanding of SDP. A brief historical overview of the political economy of unequal development is offered. In turn, I explore the benefits of a commitment to ‘equality of condition’ as a guiding principle for development and SDP and also explore various strands of development theory (modernization, dependency, neoliberal, post-development, post-colonial) to argue for a theoretically informed study of SDP that learns from, rather than recreates, the study of international development.
In Chapter 3, I begin to employ the theoretical perspectives from Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 in analysing data from a research study focused on the experiences of young Canadians who served as SDP interns within an international development programme organized by Commonwealth Games Canada. Drawing on recent research in critical development studies and international social work, I examine why young Canadians may be ‘drawn’ to SDP, how they approach the task of supporting development through sport and what such encounters say or reveal about the transnational politics of power and privilege. I argue that while interns were often aware of their relative privilege within their ‘placement communities’, such politics tended to be obscured by the development chore of facilitating neoliberal success for SDP partners.
Chapter 4 builds, in many ways, on the experiences of interns by considering data from interviews with various stakeholders and programme officials working within the SDP sector. Principally, I use these reflections to attend to the question of whether and how the mobilization of sport within SDP differs from traditional approaches to development or the ‘orthodoxy’ of twentieth century development as modernization. The results suggest that while those working in the field do maintain a critically informed sense of the limitations, if not failures, of traditional approaches to development, the political economy of development and SDP is such that diverging from the dominant paradigm remains a challenge. As a result, I conclude that the politics of contemporary SDP map closely onto the politics of development since the end of the Second World War and are worthy of ongoing scholarly attention.
Chapter 5 shifts from reflections on the challenges of mobilizing SFD to focus primarily on the role of sports mega-events in the field of SDP. Building on the critical mass of literature in the political and sociological study of sports mega-events that draws attention to the cultural significance, but also the massive opportunity costs, of staging the World Cup and Olympic Games, I argue that a mandate of sustainable international development is increasingly ascribed to such events, particularly as they are hosted more often by cities and nations in the Global South. I also explore, through interview data, some of the ways – both positive and negative – in which the massive cultural and economic capital of these events affects those working within the field of SDP, both practically and in relation to their political orientation towards social change.
In Chapter 6, I look specifically at the phenomenon of sporting celebrity and offer a critical analysis of the implications of celebrity athletes as SDP activists and stakeholders. Much has been written recently about the possibilities and limitations of celebrity engagement (sporting or otherwise) within international development and global charity efforts, literature that can inform our understanding of the contributions that celebrity athletes offer to SDP. While international development, and support of organizations within SDP, undoubtedly offers celebrity athletes an opportunity to make a positive contribution, I explore (and question) the depth or sustainability of the social change imagined and supported in and through the ‘celebritization’ of SFD.
In Chapter 7, I conclude the text with a call for a renewed commitment to critical pedagogy and studies of cultural and political oppression as a basis for ongoing study (and activism) in SDP. I argue for a commitment to solidarity with marginalized people as preferable to the discourse of empowerment that aligns with, and is susceptible to, the hegemony of neoliberal development philosophy. In turn, I suggest that our ‘imagination’ of SFD should include critical understandings of the politics of development and the various possibilities of the social organization of sport, ideas that can be facilitated by a commitment to ethical and phenomenological understandings of the sporting experience.
Finally, in the analyses that follow, I regularly employ the pronoun ‘we’ when referring to the activities and political orientations of the SDP sector. I do this, in a manner similar to that employed by critical development scholar Barbara Heron (2007), in order to situate myself within the general momentum supportive of, and ‘desiring’, the mobilization of sport, sport organizations and physical culture to contribute to egalitarian and sustainable international development. As stated above, I do not suggest that any organization or individual working in SDP is less than committed to positive social change through the opportunities that sport affords, and I wish to situate myself within this commitment and to employ this commitment in the service of critical analysis. At the same, I argue that situating myself as a committed contributor to SDP goes some way towards repelling the argument that critical analysis of development initiatives are akin to support for the status quo of unequal development and global poverty. Rather, following Nustad (2001), I argue that any commitment to critique is a commitment to positive change.
Sport for Development and Peace - Notes and Bibliography:
2. While this conceptual separation between 'sport development’ and 'sport-for-development’ (SFD) is generally accepted, the SDP sector sometimes struggles, in practice, to separate itself from elite sports development (Kidd 2008; Maguire 2006: 107–8). Indeed, the dominant 'sports ethic', which privileges and celebrates sacrifice, distinction, risk and pain, and continuously improved performance, is not easily separated from the SDP sector (Maguire 2006: 112).
3. Terminology to describe countries deemed to be ‘in need’ of development assistance and programmes remains a matter of some debate, particularly given critical perspectives on development from political science, post-colonial theory and anti-racist scholarship. In this text, I use the term ‘Global South’ to refer to the space(s) – culturally, politically and discursively – that constitute the part of the world which is understood as separate from, and therefore both Othered by and resistant to, the culturally and economically dominant Global North. According to Reed (2008):
'Global South’ is not just another name for the ‘South’ or 'the developing world’. The term denotes a community of people at different geographical locations who experience a common set of problems – problems which emanate, by and large, from deep inequities of power within and between nations. (http://www.yorku.ca/ananya/Globalsouthhome.htm)Despite its strengths in referencing relations of power as they are constituted through space and social relations, the term ‘Global South’ is not without its problems. Most importantly, it invokes a binary division between North and South that (a) potentially overlooks processes of transculturation in which the colonized take up and remake colonial cultures (Loomba 1998), (b) misinterprets the ubiquity of Empire by referencing its externality (Hardt and Negri 2000) and (c) suggests a Manichean understanding of identity in the post-colonial when ambivalence and hybridity is more accurate (Bhabha 1994). Such criticisms illustrate the difficulty of accurately or effectively transcending the politics of development in post-colonial relations. Similarly, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are those nations that are deemed to be at an economic disadvantage relative to the rest of the world. According to the World Bank:
Low-income and middle-income economies are sometimes referred to as developing economies. The use of the term is convenient; it is not intended to imply that all economies in the group are experiencing similar development or that other economies have reached a preferred or final stage of development. Classification by income does not necessarily reflect development status. (http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-classifications)'LMIC’ is thus a useful term for referring to those nations that are generally understood to be targets of development interventions and logic; at the same time, the use of the term should be accompanied by a critical understanding that it always references and privileges a dominant, yet benign, First World and affords an authority of voice (Said 1978) to speak about southern nations and communities in attempts to better them.
4. In this book, the majority of the discussion and analysis focuses on international development more so than explicit approaches to peace building and conflict resolution. However, sport for peace and conflict resolution is an important dimension of SDP with notable scholarship (see Armstrong 2004; Dyck 2011; Gasser and Levinsen 2004; Sugden 2006 and others). Indeed, as I have argued elsewhere (Darnell, in press) to discuss development is to discuss peace, given that 'the way in which inequality is conceptualized and approached in and through development (through sport or otherwise) is intimately related to the prospects for securing long-term peace and human security’.
5. As a counterpoint to the institutionalization of soccer/football as a tool for development and peace building, scholars of sport have also illustrated how the game is implicated in cultures and institutions of violence, racism, sexism, homophobia and corporatization (see Giulianotti 1999a). It is also important to note that the global recognition and popularity of soccer itself is largely inseparable from its historical colonial utility during which the game was ‘introduced’ in the Global South by European explorers and settlers. Domingos (2007), among others, argues that the game then underwent a process of ‘creolization’ where it was taken up by colonized peoples as a form of resistance and cultural expression.
8. The millennium development goals (MDGs) were formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2000. The goals set a target date of 2015 to achieve lasting and sustainable change, on a global scale, in eight categories related to social and environmental justice, including improved health for mothers and babies, the achievement of universal education, the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, and the successful erasure of preventative diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. The MDGs also set out to ensure the protection of the physical environment and, in social terms, to ‘empower women’ towards achieving gender equality (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/). The MDGs have been thoroughly scrutinized and significantly critiqued. For example, the MDGs presume that the eradication of poverty is easily compatible with liberal philosophies of social organization and neoliberal policies supporting capital accumulation when these approaches largely serve to exacerbate the poverty to which the MDGs attend (Amin 2006). Furthermore, feminists have critiqued the MDGs for simply restating feminist goals of equity without adequately addressing social causes of sexism and gender marginalization (Ariffin 2004). In other words, the MDGs do very little to support, encourage or demand a political will to effect sustainable social change.
9. In subsequent chapters, I apply these theoretical perspectives to interviews that I conducted in two separate studies – first during a study in which I interviewed 27 young Canadians who had served as volunteers in SDP and second as a researcher in the Department of International Development Studies at Dalhousie University in which I talked to nine policy makers and programme managers from across the SDP sector about the political orientation and challenges of doing this kind of work. The benefits of interviews are that they produce texts that are representative of human performance (Denzin 2001). The interviews that I conducted and analysed lend data to the theoretical connections that I make throughout the text. With that said, in no way can or should the voices captured in these interviews be considered wholly representative of the ideologies or orientations of the entire SDP sector. Particularly considering how many new actors continue to enter the SDP field, it would be problematic and misleading to claim that the interviews I conducted encapsulated the totality of SDP. Still, these voices are methodologically substantial for two reasons. One, they capture the perspectives of people in relative positions of power and privilege, both within the SDP sector and the broader cultural and political economy, and two, in a post-positivist, post-realist perspective of the manner employed here (see Chapter 2) they offer insights that are relatively deep and broad rather than claims to generalisability. For the purposes of this text, I choose the benefits of the former over the limitations of the latter. I also rely on information for this book gleaned from online sources. The use of Internet materials is a methodology that I have employed and justified previously in critical sociological analyses of SDP (see Darnell 2007), given that they offer a means by which to understand the narratives and world views espoused by key SDP stakeholders (also see Tiessen 2011). Furthermore, recent research by Hayhurst, Wilson and Frisby has illustrated that the Internet, and the online communication that it affords, offers activists, organizations and various other stakeholders in SDP an important means of interaction, engagement and promulgation of their work (see Hayhurst and Frisby 2010; Hayhurst, Wilson and Frisby 2011; Wilson and Hayhurst 2009). In turn, information posted on the Internet becomes an entry point for scholars to make sense of the ways in which SDP programmes and initiatives construct and position themselves, culturally and politically. In sum, while Internet texts and materials rarely yield data as rich, or with as much depth, as ethnographic or interview-based methodologies, they are nonetheless important repositories of cultural and political meaning for the study of SDP, and I employ them in this text when and where appropriate.
11. For example, the Mathare Youth Sport Association (MYSA) in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya is regularly and rightly held up as an example of a successful, local, grassroots SDP initiative that has improved the lives of youth through the convening interest in football/soccer (see Coalter 2010a; Willis 2000). Arguably, however, MYSA has been ‘incorporated’ into the broader international SDP fold as a result of its grassroots success and now receives significant international funding from corporate and charitable sources. This limits the extent to which MYSA can be considered representative of a political orientation akin to a Global Movement.