Social change through sport for development initiatives

: A critical pedagogical perspective

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Within our cities, a substantial proportion of young people are still
growing up in socially vulnerable situations, with the risk of social
exclusion from various institutions such as education, leisure time
and the labour market. It is increasingly assumed that sport can be
a means to reach these young people and ‘work’ with them. The
rhetoric, policy measures and wide range of initiatives that use
sport for development and social change can be accommodated
within the term ‘sport for development’ (SfD). However, underlying
the dominant SfD discourse, there are a number of problematic
assumptions that corresponds with the broader societal discourses
about these young people, their problems and their needs. An
accurate needs analysis is, nevertheless, essential for an effective
and efficient approach to the problems that young people face,
and therefore also through SfD. Moreover, numerous studies
have shown that the relationship between sport participation and
positive development depends on a combination of different
contextual factors, educational components and pedagogical
processes. Since these studies take the broader societal context
in which young people find themselves too little into account, this
doctoral study departed from a critical sociological perspective
in order to examine how and to what extent SfD initiatives can
contribute to development and social change and in what way this
can be monitored, evaluated and supported.
Within this study, Zeno Nols worked together with six urban SfD
initiatives from Brussels, Antwerp and Genk: Brussels Boxing
Academy, Brussels Jiu-Jitsu Academy, Antwerp Wolf Pack, City
Pirates Antwerp, Kras Sport Antwerp and Opboksen Genk.
These initiatives are experts in the field of sport for development
and should be recognised for it.
Date of Award12 Dec 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
SupervisorMarc Theeboom (Promotor), Reinhard Haudenhuyse (Co-promotor), Fred Coalter (Co-promotor), Bas van Heur (Jury), Gerrit Loots (Jury), An Nuytiens (Jury), Pascal Delheye (Jury) & Kirsten Verkooijen (Jury)

Keywords

  • social change
  • social justice
  • impact
  • sport
  • sport for development
  • youth
  • social policy
  • critical pedagogy
  • pedagogy
  • development
  • youth work
  • social work

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