Critically Examining the Norwegian Sport for Development and Peace Context: Partnerships and Policies

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 11:06
Oral Presentation
Kelvin LEUNG, York University, Canada
The Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) movement has gained international recognition from governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), sport federations and corporate sponsors. Participation in sport has been promoted as a medium to attain development goals (Kidd, 2008), and a plethora of entities have emerged since the United Nations adopted SDP as a part of its development agenda. Norway has been a leading donor country in the SDP movement (Right to Play, 2008), and has funded Norwegian actors including the national Olympic Committee, various sport federations and NGOs.

The participation of a diverse range of actors in SDP has exhibited a vast assortment of organizational values and approaches to foreign aid. The current body of SDP scholarship has highlighted the tension between elite-performance athletics (i.e., sport development) and mass participation sport (i.e., sport for development), as well as among top-down and bottom-up approaches to development (e.g., Black, 2010; Houlihan & White, 2002). Partnerships have often been formed between actors that have possessed ideological differences in values, which has routinely led to the submission of ‘weaker’ partners to the realization of priorities set by more well-established actors (cf. Black, 2017; Hayhurst & Frisby, 2010). In so doing, the unbalanced set of power relations between partners has frequently upheld the hegemonic practices of neoliberal and neocolonial agendas in SDP (cf. Guest, 2009; Kidd 2008).

While there has been growing scholarship that has critically examined partnerships in SDP (e.g., Black, 2017; Hayhurst & Frisby, 2010), few studies have investigated partnerships in the Norwegian context, despite Norway's position as a vital actor in the international SDP movement. This study will therefore examine the nature of the relationships among the variety of Norwegian SDP actors in addition to the ways in which Norwegian SDP policies have been influenced by partnerships among these actors.