‘Sport and Development’: new journal from the Danish association Forum for Idræt


By Katja Høiriis
Knowledge bank: This edition of the Journal titled ‘Sport and Development’, composed in cooperation with ‘Network for Sport and Development’ (NSD), focuses on exercise and sports as a potential tool for development. It examines the concept of ‘sport for all’ as a contribution to development in the Third World and conflict-stricken countries.

Each society and culture have their own different forms of physical activity or sports, and there is no limitation to how, when and who can participate.

In the Sport and Development journal different contributors share their experiences from working with sports in developing countries, but the journal also takes a more critical view and discusses topics such as; is it possible to use sports as a tool for development? Can sports change the social behaviour of the participants? Is it fair to teach other cultures about and expect them to adopt our body culture? Etc.

Development through sports
Sports is often said to have universal value and participation in sports can be seen to contribute to the development of social skills, improve learning abilities, reduce criminality, give a healthier life, and improve democratic understanding and participation.

Within the area of non-governmental work, the activities of sports organisations are often more innovative than traditional development projects. Sport as a part of development work is an emerging field which is widely recognised by the UN, governments and international organisations alike.

Academic contributions to the field of sports and development
The journal consists of three scientific articles, two student articles and four essays. The chapters of the Journal each tell their own compelling stories and investigate different sides of the common issue of development and sports.

Bodily Democracy and Development through Sport, by Henning Eichberg, University of Southern Denmark
In the first article in the journal, Henning Eichberg argues that ‘sport for all’ as a folk culture, is today replaced by individuals who strive for individual glory. Eichberg, thus, points out that we risk creating a monopolistic sport where the play culture is marginalized. He, finally, introduces the term ‘bodily democracy’ and uses it in order to put focus on the relationship between ‘sport for all’ and the different forms of democracy and politics.

The Political Uses of Sport by the United States, by Gerald Gems, North Central College
In the second article, professor Gerald Gems present historical examples from the United States that exemplify how the body has been used for social control, to assimilate immigrant groups and to force colonized people into a prescribed value. This historical look at American sport shows a pattern of using sport as a means of spreading democratic and capitalist ideologies.

Women and Sport in Islamic Cultures, by Gertrud Pfister, University of Copenhagen
In the final scientific article, Gertrud Pfister takes her point of departure in the claim that modern sport guarantees equality no matter race, religion and politics. However, women from Islamic countries have different barriers and opportunities than women from Western countries. Pfister’s investigations include an overview of Islamic women’s participation in the Olympics, clarification of the religious barriers these women experience and a description of women’s affiliation with competitive sport.

Why look at Self-concept among Vulnerable Children?, by Tanja Marie Hansen, cand.scient.idræt
In the first student article, Tanja Marie Hansen presents the outcome of a survey conducted among vulnerable children in Zambia, focusing not only on the child but also on the communities served by sports academics. The study shows significant differences in many aspects of life among children who participate in organized sports compared to those who do not.

Can Sport Projects Contribute to Conflict Prevention?, by Maria Dyrberg, cand.scient.idræt
The second student article seeks to answer the question “how can sport projects contribute to conflict prevention?” by listing ideal criteria for sport projects, in order to see if Danish NGOs live up to these criteria. Dyrberg finds that sport can alleviate conflicts by creating social trust. Two different Danish sports projects are analysed using the ideal criteria.

Open Fun Football Schools, by Anders Levinsen, Director of Cross Cultures
In a feature article, Anders Levinsen describes how football schools in the Balkan and Trans Caucasus developed based on an ideology that football can build bridges across gender, segments of the population and even wars.

Why is Sport and Development a Priority in National Sport Organisations?, by Jacob Schouenborg, General Secretary Sport and Culture Assiciation (ISCA)
In this essay, Jacob Schouenborg lists four reasons who national sports organisations make sport and development a priority. He argues that a focus on solidarity, sport development, politics and organisational development will have positive consequences for sports organisations.

Mutual Open-mindness set in Motion in Afghanistan, by Majbrit Kronborg Mouridsen, project manager
Here, Majbrit Mouridsen explains how two organisations give children and youth, who work on the streets in Kabul, the opportunity to do sports and through this, develop social, mental and physical skills.

What Difference can a Basketball Make), by Simon Prahm, director GAM3 and Mac McCleanhan, director GAM3 in Lebanon
In the final essay, McCleanhan and Prahm share their experiences with the GAM3 project that uses basketball and urban culture as a tool for empowerment and cross cultural dialogue.

”Sport and Development”, Forum for Idræt, Historie og Samfund
University Press of Southern Denmark
Editors: Linnea Ytting, Bo Vestergård Madsen & Maria Dyrberg
ISBN: 978-87-7674-496-0
The journal is in English and you can order it by writing to info@forumforidraet.dk. The price is 198 DKK


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