A critical reflection on sport-for-development discourses: A review

Cora Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The work being done in the area of Sport-for-Development (SfD) or Sport-for-Development and Peace (SDP) has increased in critical mass in the past decade with several of the research paradigms emanating from neo-colonial and neo-liberal traditions in the Global North. Under scrutiny is the collective hegemony of powerful northern stakeholders in multiple partnerships directing ‘development’ for achieving the Millennium Development Goals through sport. There is a need for original and innovative counter paradigms underpinned by alternative Southern worldviews to challenge these hegemonic (intellectual) practices. Radical post-colonial paradigms inform the interrogation of four prominent discourses relating to: North-South polarisation; positionality in terms of locality and thematic fields; lack of evidence; and a deficit (reduction) model approach. The politics rooted in the academic/donor/NGO complex exposes privileged voices in the neo-colonial space of SfD work that will remain entrenched in Western intelligibility unless exposed to radical transformation and collective agency at all levels of engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-24
Number of pages14
JournalSouth African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Global North
  • Global South
  • Neo-colonial
  • Neo-liberalism
  • Sport-for-development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'A critical reflection on sport-for-development discourses: A review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this