The Critical Participatory Paradigm and its Implications

Oscar Mwaanga, Kolawole Adeosun

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingChapter

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    The once high flying Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) balloon may be deflating hence descending due to several holes piercing through the balloon. In this analogy, the rising balloon represents the inflated and growing popularity of SDP in the last decade while the holes represent flaws in the conceptualization and consequently the problematic practices and research of the SDP field. Within practice, the field is cluttered with gullible policy entrepreneurs who have championed very simplistic notions that sport un-problematically delivers development and peace goals with little or no regard to complex contextual realities in communities where SDP interventions are conducted, amongst other things. Likewise in research, the knowledge creation process is suppressed and excludes indigenous input. Primarily, this chapter presents a critique of the hegemonic or dominant SDP research paradigm(s) and champions the reader to consider the Critical Participatory Paradigm (CPP) in order to progress the field which growth is clearly stagnating. The main critique postulates that SDP is an undemocratic endeavour where the Global North researches on and not with the Global South, developing knowledge which has limited application among the end users of SDP policies, especially in global southern communities. Hence we argue for the future democratisation of SDP research through the CPP. The CPP is critical because it accepts the complexity, contextuality, fluidity, historicity, heterogeneity and structurality in examining SDP developmental processes, mechanisms and outcomes. Secondly, it is participatory because it engages vested interests as co-creators in the research process and development of knowledge. The CPP is clearly distinguishable from the domiant paradigms through its underlying philosophical principles which have been expressed as a set of imperatives for research practice. These imperative are ontological, epistemological, and political (Breu & Peppard, 2001). Through critical review and SDP contextualisation of these imperatives which are discernible from the dominant SDP research paradigm(s), we offer the cornerstones of the future imagined SDP research paradigm. We conclude the CPP by proposing a shift from the dominant research paradigm that privileges the Global North towards a more democratic paradigm that aims and works to engage all key vested interests while unashamedly privileging the recipients of SDP policies. Fundamentally, the CPP aims to both interpret social reality and radically transform with the research participants (Maguire, 1987).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEthics and Governance in Sport
    Subtitle of host publicationThe future of sport imagined
    EditorsYves Vanden Auweele, Elaine Cook, Jim Parry
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315679501
    ISBN (Print)978-1-138-93180-0
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2015


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