Volunteers in the sport for development and peace sector antinomies liminality and structural relations.pdf (1.41 MB)
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Volunteers in the sport for development and peace sector: antinomies, liminality, and structural relations

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journal contribution
posted on 14.04.2021, 15:56 authored by Richard GiulianottiRichard Giulianotti, Holly CollisonHolly Collison, Simon Darnell
In this paper, we seek to advance understandings of the contemporary global ‘sport for development and peace’ (SDP) sector, with respect to volunteers and volunteering in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Volunteers play a critical role in organising and delivering SDP social intervention programmes across the world; most SDP volunteer work is undertaken by local young people who are often presented as current peer or future community leaders. Specifically, we utilise a unique combination of the concepts of antinomy and liminality to examine systematically the ‘in-between’ positions, roles, and experiences of SDP volunteers. Our analysis spotlights three sets of antinomy. First, categorical antinomies relate to the liminal or in-between positioning of volunteers in terms of their sociodemography (e.g. between adolescence and adulthood), status within NGOs (as neither paid employees or programme user groups), and their standing between NGOs and communities. Second, the structural antinomies of volunteers relate to the empowering/disempowering aspects of development, positioning between the international development and national public sectors, and their standing between civil society and the private sector. Third, the social antinomies of volunteering centre on their relations with the development NGO, links to donors, and volunteer positions in regard to programme sustainability. The paper draws on extensive interview- and fieldwork-based research into SDP in three diverse locations (Kosovo, Rwanda, and Sri Lanka) as part of a wider cross-cultural research project on the global SDP sector. The findings may be used as an analytical framework for future research into volunteering, in other SDP locations, in other fields of sport, or on wider social and development sectors, such as in education, community and youth work, leisure and recreation.


Sport for a Better World? A Social Scientific Investigation of the Sport for Development and Peace Sector

Economic and Social Research Council

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  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
  • Loughborough University London

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Sport, Education and Society








Taylor & Francis (Routledge)


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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Taylor & Francis under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Prof Richard Giulianotti. Deposit date: 8 March 2021