Digital Activism: Neoliberalism, the Internet, and Sport for Youth Development

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 University of British Columbia
  • 2 University of Toronto
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This article reports findings from an interview-based study focused around the role of the Internet in the development and operations of four nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that use sport as part of their youth engagement efforts. Findings showed, on the one hand, how the emergence of certain NGOs would not have been possible if not for the Internet. On the other hand, it was clear that the Internet contributes to a form of “ironic activism,” meaning that the practices that underlie certain forms of Internet-enabled NGO activity also reproduce neoliberal, market-driven approaches to dealing with social problems. The article includes discussion about ways in which the use of communication technologies by “sport for development” NGOs is reflective of broader developments in and around the NGO community.

Wilson is with the School of Human Kinetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z2; Hayhurst is with the Graduate Department of Exercise Sciences, University of Toronto, 40 Sussex Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5S 1J7.

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