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Sport and Social Mobility: Crossing Boundaries

Simon C. Darnell

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Power, Politics and “Sport for Development and Peace”: Investigating the Utility of Sport for International Development

Simon C. Darnell

Sport is currently mobilized as a tool of international development within the “Sport for Development and Peace” (SDP) movement. Framed by Gramscian hegemony theory and sport and development studies respectively, this article offers an analysis of the conceptualization of sport’s social and political utility within SDP programs. Drawing on the perspectives of young Canadians (n = 27) who served as volunteer interns within Commonwealth Games Canada’s International Development through Sport program, the dominant ideologies of development and social change that underpin current SDP practices are investigated. The results suggest that while sport does offer a new and unique tool that successfully aligns with a development mandate, the logic of sport is also compatible with the hegemony of neo-liberal development philosophy. As a result, careful consideration of the social politics of sport and development within the SDP movement is called for.

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Caster Semenya, Gender Verification and the Politics of Fairness in an Online Track & Field Community

Cassandra Wells and Simon C. Darnell

The sex testing of South African runner Caster Semenya in 2009 was widely discussed in media, but the most serious and significant sites of debate may have been within the cultures and institutions of track & field itself. In this article, we report findings from an analysis of an online track & field community—TrackNet Listserv—through which the Semenya case, and the politics and ethics of sex testing, were discussed. The results suggest that listserv members recognized the contestability of sex testing policies and identified with feminist struggles, but nevertheless largely argued for sex testing’s necessity in light of understandings of the biologically normative female body and the importance of maintaining fairness in and through sex-segregated sport. The implications for the sport of track & field and for sporting feminisms are discussed.

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“Building Back Better”: Seeking an Equitable Return to Sport for Development in the Wake of COVID-19

Richard Norman, Daniel Sailofsky, Simon Darnell, Marika Warner, and Bryan Heal

The COVID-19 pandemic affected sport programming by restricting in-person activities. Concurrently, global outcry for racial justice for Black and racialized communities promoted calls to action to assess equitable practices in sport, including sport for development (SFD). This study critically examined SFD “return to play” programming to include perspectives from racialized persons’ lived experiences. We present findings based on data collected from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Foundation’s Change the Game campaign, which explored questions of sport inequity to “build back better.” Outcomes further SFD discourses challenging (potentially) harmful structures affecting participants, including underreported effects of racialization. The study used both quantitative and qualitative analyses of survey data on youth experiences, enablers, and barriers in sport and analyzed these results within an antiracist, antioppressive, and decolonial conceptual framework.

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A Critical Examination of Race and Antiracism in the Sport for Development Field: An Introduction

Meredith A. Whitley, Joseph N. Cooper, Simon C. Darnell, Akilah R. Carter-Francique, and Kip G. O’Rourke-Brown