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Becoming an Occupation? A Research Agenda Into the Professionalization of the Sport for Development and Peace Sector

Mitchell McSweeney, Rob Millington, Lyndsay M.C. Hayhurst, and Simon Darnell

Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) has transformed from what some termed a “social movement” to an institutionalized sector with numerous organizations and practitioners involved, resulting in trends that point toward SDP becoming a recognized category of work through professional training. The purpose of this paper is to utilize theories of professions and institutional isomorphism to advance the significance and importance of thinking about SDP as a profession. Three emerging trends that point to the professionalization of SDP are reviewed: (a) increasing opportunities to attain SDP certifications and training, (b) the growing number of SDP-specific academic degrees, and (c) the creation of a SDP knowledge base, particularly in relation to monitoring and evaluation. To conclude, theoretical and practical implications of the professionalization of SDP are discussed and a research agenda is outlined for future research on the continued institutionalization, and professionalization, of the SDP sector.