Globalizing Sport Studies Series Editor's Preface
There is now a considerable amount of expertise nationally and internationally in the social scientific and cultural analysis of sport in relation to the economy and society more generally. Contemporary research topics, such as sport and social justice, science and technology and sport, global social movements and sport, sports mega-events, sports participation and engagement and the role of sport in social development, suggest that sport and social relations need to be understood in non-Western developing economies as well as European, North American and other advanced capitalist societies. The current high global visibility of sport makes this an excellent time to launch a major new book series that takes sport seriously and makes this research accessible to a wide readership.
The series Globalizing Sport Studies is thus in line with a massive growth of academic expertise, research output and public interest in sport worldwide. At the same time, it seeks to use the latest developments in technology and the economics of publishing to reflect the most innovative research into sport in society currently underway in the world. The series is multi-disciplinary, although primarily based on the social sciences and cultural studies approaches to sport.
The broad aims of the series are to: act as a knowledge hub for social scientific and cultural studies research in sport, including, but not exclusively, anthropological, economic, geographic, historical, political science and sociological studies; contribute to the expanding field of research on sport in society in the United Kingdom and internationally by focussing on sport at regional, national and international levels; create a series for both senior and more junior researchers that will become synonymous with cutting-edge research, scholarly opportunities and academic development; promote innovative discipline-based, multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches to researching sport in society; provide an English-language outlet for high quality non-English writing on sport in society; and publish broad overviews, original empirical research studies and classic studies from non-English sources, and thus attempt to realise the potential for globalizing sport studies through open content licensing with ‘Creative Commons’.
Sport (broadly defined to encompass physical activity, physical education and even physical culture) has increasingly been seen as having a role to play in contributing to the resolution of enduring societal problems, especially in the Global South or developing world. In 2003, the United Nations (UN) adopted resolution 58/5, which formally recognized the contributions that sport can make to meeting international development goals, and followed this with the international Year of Sport and Physical Education in 2005. Sport has since gained both international recognition and political traction within development initiatives, notably the United Nations' millennium development goals that seek, for example, to eradicate extreme poverty and achieve sustainable gender equality – particularly in the Global South – by 2015. There are currently dozens of sport-based international development programmes and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) listed on the International Platform for Sport and Development, and organizations like Right to Play enjoy a strong international profile and support from government, multinational corporations and celebrity athletes.
Sport for Development and Peace: A Critical Sociology brings a sociological view to bear on such initiatives and the momentum behind 'sport for development and peace’ (SDP). Simon Darnell does not seek to discredit or, as he says, 'derail’ SDP, the related notion of sport-for-development (SFD), or any of the contributions that sport might make in meeting development goals, but rather raises critical questions about the political and social implications of SDP. The book considers the institutionalized relationship between sport and international development by using insights drawn from critical sport sociology and critical development studies.
Chapter 1 examines the ways in which sport, and SDP in particular, can be understood through contemporary social theories (notably Gramscian, Foucauldian and post-colonial theory), and Chapter 2 outlines a brief history of the politics of international development. Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 employ the theoretical perspectives outlined there to analyse data from original research into the experiences of young people on an international development programme and interviews with various stakeholders and programme officials working within SDP organizations. Chapter 5 shifts the focus to consider the role of sports mega-events in the field of SDP, particularly as they are increasingly hosted by cities and nations in the Global South. Darnell assesses the claims that sustainable international development can be ascribed to such events. Chapter 6 looks specifically at the phenomenon of sporting celebrity and offers analysis of the implications of celebrity athletes as SDP activists and stakeholders. In Chapter 7, Darnell argues 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.
Darnell suggests that those interested in SFD and SDP need to consider the implications of linking sport to the development paradigm and asks questions such as who are the targets of SDP, what kind of world view is championed through SDP, and what inequalities exist and how does SDP respond?
'Sport for development and peace', 'sport-for-development’ and associated slogans have risen in popularity in the past 20 years; this is the first coherent book-length attempt to understand some of the implications, assumptions and ideologies underpinning these developments.
John Horne, 2012