Community sport in Flanders

Authored by: Reinhard Haudenhuyse , Evi Buelens , Pieter Debognies , Veerle De Bosscher , Inge Derom , Hebe Schaillée , Marc Theeboom , Jasper Truyens , Jikkemien Vertonghen , Zeno Nols

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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Community sports in Flanders (Belgium) are seen as a ‘jack of all trades’ in terms of including a diversity of young people and increasingly other age groups, working towards a variety of claimed social developmental objectives. However, the original ‘sport-for-integration’ philosophy that was ingrained in the first community sport initiatives in Flanders has gradually shifted towards a more ‘sport-for-sport’s-sake’ policy philosophy, where the focus is on maximizing accessibility for non-participating groups in the community. In this chapter, we conceptualize a ‘Sport and Society Framework’ and discuss three community sport initiatives. Although the three cases are different in many aspects, they all share the ambition to go beyond sport with the specific groups they work with. All three cases cover, as such, both dimensions of the Sport and Society Framework, namely development-of-sport and development-through-sport. However, in relation to the later, although issues such as social change, equality and social justice, might be part of the program rhetoric and formulated goals, it is remains difficult to ascertain if and how such issues are being addressed by the offered activities. We conclude by suggesting a way forward that can help us to develop a better understanding of the transformative potential of such practices.

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