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Cultivating Safe Space: Lessons for Sport-for-Development Projects and Events

Ramon Spaaij and Nico Schulenkorf

Recent research has examined how sports events and sport-for-development projects can create, sustain, and maximize positive social impacts for local communities. This article takes this debate forward by arguing that the cultivation of safe space is a key ingredient of sport-for-development management and community event leverage. Safe space is conceptualized as a multidimensional process that involves physical, psychological/affective, sociocultural, political, and experimental dimensions. Drawing on empirical findings from Sri Lanka, Israel, and Brazil, the article shows how these dimensions of safe space operate and interact in practice, and identifies practical strategies that sport managers, policymakers, and practitioners can use to cultivate safe spaces in and through sports projects and events.

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Subtexts of Research on Diversity in Sport Organizations: Queering Intersectional Perspectives

Annelies Knoppers, Fiona McLachlan, Ramón Spaaij, and Froukje Smits

A great deal of research focusing on organizational diversity has explored dynamics that exclude women and minorities from positions of leadership in sport organizations. The relatively little change in diversity in these positions suggests a need to employ ways of engaging in diversity research that do not center on identity categories and primarily focus on practices. Drawing on notions of subtexts and on queer theory, this critical narrative review aims to make visible and to question organizational practices and processes that may contribute to the diversity “problem” within sport organizations. A subtextual analysis of 32 articles published in leading sport management journals reveals how dynamics of organizational culture, such as an uncritical use of the concept of diversity, the invisibility of practices sustaining gender binaries and heteronormativity, and the intersection of heteronormativity and White normativity, contribute to sustaining the status quo in sport organizations. The authors build on these findings to challenge scholars to further explore and address these practices and processes in sport organizations and in their own research by employing queered intersectional approaches.