‘Running with scissors or walking on hot coals’: exploring the risks and promises of sport for peace education

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    Within this article I discuss the relationship between sport-related community programmes and peace education to understand how such junctures can promote positive social change. The use of sport for social change is not new, however, in recent decades Sport for Peace and Development (SDP) has blossomed (Burnett, 2015; Coalter, 2013) and with it promises of various educational and communal benefits. Such projects, I would contend, have functioned through an integrative developmental approach rather than a transformative educational method (Craig, 2016). This article examines a project for European-wide sport coaches engaged in community sport to foster peaceful change: “Changing the Game by Changing its Players” (Erasmus+, 2015). Whilst recognising the diverse community contexts, the project sought to develop sport educators through dialogical principles, knowledge exchange and service design to explore the notion of sport as an educational tool for peaceful change (Hermens, et al, 2017). Arguing that peace can be misconstrued and counter-productive to those seeking to use sport for educational purposes, I suggest the importance of understanding new methodologies. These include unearthing notions of those silenced (Brandsma, 2017), trust as an educational process and developing dialogue for peaceful change (DPC) (Craig & Craig, 2012). These, it is contended, are important lenses to broaden our understanding of peace education though sport. I conclude, by discussing the implications for translating learning into meaningful community and social impact rather than accepting the dominant neo-liberal SDP frameworks, which rely upon traditional sport coach pedagogies. Expanding opportunities for sport coaches as ‘community change educators’ may also help transform the SDP narrative.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


    • Sport for Peace and Development (SDP), Trust, Dialogue for Peaceful Change (DPC)


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