SDP and action sports

Authored by: Holly Thorpe , Nida Ahmad , Neftalie Williams

Routledge Handbook of Sport for Development and Peace

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138210486
eBook ISBN: 9781315455174
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter provides a critical overview of the growing field of Action Sports for Development and Peace (ASDP) programmes and emergent literature. It begins by examining the rise of non-profit organizations utilizing non-competitive, informal sports such as skateboarding and surfing. In so doing, we illustrate the diversity within this movement ranging from grassroots, local initiatives to transnational organizations with programmes running in various locations. In the main body of the chapter we provide insights into some key issues within the field of ASDP and current literature emerging on the topic. In particular, we critically discuss the implications of the ‘Girl Effect’ in action sports programmes, the increasing use of action sports for ‘cause marketing’ and diplomacy, and recent calls for paying greater attention to grassroots action sports initiatives, youth agency and creativity in local contexts. Offering various case studies, this chapter illustrates the potential in action sports for developing different skills and learning opportunities than the sports typically used in SDP programmes. Importantly, however, this is not where the distinctions finish – relationships with industry, the (not unproblematic) involvement of transnational corporations, as well as the rise of creative grassroots initiatives, all signal important trends that deserve further consideration within the SDP field more broadly.

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