Simon C. Darnell
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.
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.
Rob Millington, Simon C. Darnell and Brad Millington
Ecological modernization refers to the idea that capitalist-driven scientific and technological advancements can not only attend to the world’s pending environmental crises, but even lead to ecological improvement, thus allowing sustainability and consumption to continue in concert. In this paper, we examine ecological modernization at the confluence of environmentalism, international development and global sport. Through an analysis of golf and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, we argue that golf’s return to the Olympic program is illustrative of a post-political approach to environmentalism, whereby ecological modernization is posited as a common-sense response to addressing matters of global climate change.
Sarah Zipp, Tavis Smith and Simon Darnell
Sport for development (SFD) research and practice has become more critically examined recently, with many scholars calling for better understanding of how and why sport might contribute to the global development movement. Developing and refining theoretical approaches is key to unpacking the complexities of SFD. Yet, theory development in SFD is still relatively young and often relies on oversimplified theory of change models. In this article, the authors propose a new theoretical approach, drawing upon the capabilities approach and critical feminist perspectives. The authors contend that the capabilities approach is effective in challenging neoliberal ideologies and examining a range of factors that influence people’s lived experiences. They have woven a “gender lens” across the capabilities approach framework, as feminist perspectives are often overlooked, subjugated, or misunderstood. The authors also provide an adaptable diagrammatic model to support researchers and practitioners in applying this framework in the SFD context.
Simon C. Darnell, Richard Giulianotti, P. David Howe and Holly Collison
Some recent appraisals of Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) research have found it to be deterministic and ideological, and lacking sophistication and specificity with regards to theory and method. Notably, such criticisms dovetail with the foundations of Actor Network Theory (ANT). Based on fieldwork in Kingston, Jamaica, we draw on ANT to ‘re-assemble’ the understanding of SDP programs by examining their constitutive elements. The results illustrate the connections necessary for SDP to cohere, and the range of actors in the field, including international funders, funds themselves, and concepts regarding sport’s development utility. Investigating these assemblages facilitates a non-deterministic understanding of the ways in which sport is mobilized in the service of development and peace, while allowing for a nuanced and empirically sound assessment of power and agency.