Sport for Development and Transformative Social Change: The Potential of Margaret Archer’s Morphogenetic Approach to Reconceptualize a Long-Standing Problem

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Durham University
  • | 2 Loughborough University
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Frequent calls for sport for development (SFD) to be reoriented toward transformative social change reflect the extent that policies and programs have instead focused on individualized forms of personal development. However, SFD research has yet to substantially address fundamental ontological assumptions and underlying conceptualizations of transformative social change. To addresses this gap, this article considers how Margaret Archer’s Morphogenetic Approach can help explain how transformative social change might occur through SFD activities. Three conceptual contributions are brought into focus: (a) assuming a realist social ontology; (b) making distinctions between structure, culture, and agency; and (c) identifying social change as happening across three temporal phases. The authors conclude by identifying potential benefits and implications of applying the Morphogenetic Approach to consider the potential for SFD to contribute to social change.

Lindsey is with the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom. Wiltshire is with the School of Sport Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.

Lindsey (iain.lindsey@durham.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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