The Globalization of ‘Bicycles for Development’: Examining a Sport for Development ‘Movement’

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 10:48
Oral Presentation
Mitchell MCSWEENEY, York University, Canada
Madison ARDIZZI, University of British Columbia, Canada
Lyndsay HAYHURST, York University, Canada
Brian WILSON, University of British Columbia, Canada
Sport for development (SFD), which refers to the use of sport and physical activity to improve livelihoods and respond to broader social development issues (Kidd, 2008), has rapidly proliferated in recent years in research and practice (Schulenkorf, Sherry, & Rowe, 2016). Despite this increase in attention to the challenges and opportunities related to SFD, limited consideration has been paid to the globalization of the ‘bicycles for development’ (BFD) ‘movement’, which features a variety of corporations, non-governmental organizations, international institutions, and local communities. Although there is research that has explored the intended and unintended consequences of the globalization of sport (Giulianotti, 2004; Thibault, 2009), there remains a gap of in-depth research on BFD – and how it relates to SFD – as a form of globalization. Specifically, there is a notable lacuna in the research that explores the impact and role of bicycles and how they move from the Global North to – and within – the Global South. Therefore, in this paper, we outline the contemporary globalization of the BFD ‘movement’ based on an analysis of a global ‘BFD’ map, encompassing over 60 BFD organizations operating in more than 40 countries. We discuss and reflect on: 1) the work of BFD organizations and their associated ‘development’ goals; 2) the locations and areas of the world that the BFD movement operates across and within; and 3) the social issues identified by each organization, attending to how these issues may or may not vary by region. In doing so, we attend to how this BFD ‘movement’ occurs within complex sets of socio-cultural-political relations infused with power dynamics, and offer preliminary insights into how the BFD ‘movement’ has been influenced by, and influences, globalization. Finally, we address the potential of the BFD ‘movement’ and what is needed for future research and understanding.