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Development, Gender and Sport: Theorizing a Feminist Practice of the Capabilities Approach in Sport for Development

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.

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Critical Friends, Dialogues of Discomfort, and Researcher Reflexivity in the Sociology of Sport

Adam Ehsan Ali, Tavis Smith, and Michael Dao

In this special issue, which calls for a “more radical sociology of sport and physical culture,” the purpose of this paper is to address how practices of reflexivity might be mobilized among critical sport scholars toward changing the intersectional, fragmented, and complex communities we inhabit inside and outside the academy. We begin by conducting a literature review of researcher reflexivity and positionality in Sociology of Sport Journal from 2000 to 2022. Utilizing Wanda Pillow’s “reflexivities of discomfort,” we interrogate our own research by engaging in a reflexive dialogue as “critical friends.” Through this work, we try to make sense of the potential of these dialogues for shaping our ethical, political, and personal approaches to research, writing, methodology, and knowledge production.