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Girls’ Sport in Northern Uganda: A Postcolonial Feminist Exploration of Definitions and Benefits

Alicia J. Johnson and Meredith A. Whitley

Sport is increasingly used as a tool for development and peacebuilding to reach an array of populations (Hayhurst, 2009), including girls and women in the Two-Thirds World (Brady, 2005; Hayhurst, 2014; Saavedra, 2009). However, scholars have cautioned against a universal definition of sport considering its historical link to colonization (Darnell & Hayhurst, 2011; Saavedra, 2009) as well as the promotion of universal benefits of sport for girls (Brady, 2005; Larkin, Razack, & Moola, 2007). Therefore, a postcolonial feminist framework was employed to qualitatively explore how 12 secondary school girls in northern Uganda define sport. In addition, participants in this study identified the benefits that they and other girls and women receive from participating in sport. Semistructured interviews were conducted face-to-face and were transcribed, coded, and thematized by the researchers. Trustworthiness was established by engaging a peer debriefer from Uganda and critical awareness of researcher positionality through reflexivity. Results include how the participants defined sport and physical activity, some as a singular and others as a binary concept, and how girls benefit from participating in sport in northern Uganda. The identified benefits include aspects of health, social life, engagement, opportunities, socioemotional development, and competition. Many of these benefits are congruent with literature from within and outside of Uganda; however, the results also indicate a need for a deeper understanding of how communities define and benefit from sport where sport for development programs are delivered. Connections between the results and the postcolonial feminist framework, study limitations and future research directions are also discussed.

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The Talent Paradox: Disenchantment, Disengagement, and Damage Through Sport

William V. Massey and Meredith A. Whitley

Previous researchers have demonstrated that sport participation can be a place of purpose, a place of celebrated deviance, and/or a value-neutral endeavor for children who have experienced developmental trauma. While previous research has focused primarily on sport as a positive influence, the purpose of this paper is to examine where disillusionment, disengagement, and damage occur through participation in sport. This study was guided by a constructionist epistemology, with the researchers aiming to understand how sport participation interacted with various system-level influences. Interviews were conducted with 41 former athletes, significant others, and community members. The results of this study explore how a sport system can contribute to disillusionment in sport, disengagement from sport, and damage done through sport.

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Narratives of Experiential Learning: Students’ Engagement in a Physical Activity-Based Service-Learning Course

Meredith A. Whitley, David Walsh, Laura Hayden, and Daniel Gould


Three undergraduate students’ experiences in a physical activity-based service learning course are chronicled using narrative inquiry.


Data collection included demographics questionnaires, pre- and postservice interviews, reflection journals, postservice written reflections, and participant observations. The data were analyzed with comprehensive deductive and inductive analysis procedures, along with the creation of detailed narratives summarizing students’ individual experiences and outcomes.


Results revealed student growth and development, including leadership development, improved interpersonal skills, increased knowledge of social justice issues, and enhanced self-understanding. However, the number, depth, and complexity of these outcomes varied significantly, which was largely explained by individual variables (e.g., interest in learning, level of effort, degree of adaptability).


These findings highlight the opportunity for course instructors to lead reflective activities before and during the service-learning experience, along with providing individualized guidance and feedback on students’ learning, effort, and adaptability throughout the service-learning course.

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University–Organization Collaboration in Sport for Development: Understanding Practitioners’ Perspectives and Experiences in Research and Evaluation Partnerships

Meredith A. Whitley, Jon Welty Peachey, Julia Leitermann, NaRi Shin, and Adam Cohen

Despite a growing body of scholarship exploring university–organization collaborations in the sport for development (SfD) field, there has been limited consideration of the experiences of practitioners and partnering organizations in these partnerships. The purpose of this study was to examine their experiences when partnering with academic institutions, programs, scholars, and/or students, with a specific focus on research and evaluation partnerships. Interviews were conducted with 22 participants working at 20 SfD organizations in the United States. Findings were organized into six main categories (e.g., motivations, factors that facilitate or impede collaboration, collaboration outcomes). A conceptual process framework for university–organization collaboration emerged from the data. This study is one of the first in the SfD field to examine practitioners’ perspectives of university–organization collaborations centered on research and evaluation activities. The findings help advance the SfD field, identifying the various factors at play as these partnerships are formed, activated, and sustained.

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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