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Call for Chapters for a new book project - International Sport Volunteering

Wednesday, April 1, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Robin Wehrlin
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International Sport Volunteering


Editors: Angela M Benson, University of Brighton and Nicholas Wise, Glasgow Caledonian University (eds)


The study of volunteering is well documented with sport voluntarism hailed as a valuable contribution to society, particularly within the western world. In terms of scale and the range of such opportunities, international sport volunteering is not only replicated through mega-sporting events, as seen in Beijing and Sochi at recent Olympic Games, but through sport development initiatives/programmes in remote communities in Africa and South America. As such, the research into sport volunteering within national boundaries is reasonably well developed, and therefore more research is needed to evaluate the impact and assess sport volunteering in international contexts at a range of scales to critically frame/ successes and limitations to the wider body of volunteering literature. International sport volunteering is often contextualized as part of sport tourism or volunteer tourism research, which is an embryonic but growing field of study. Therefore, the purpose of this timely special issue is to tease out and address conceptual uncertainties and challenges associated with international sport volunteering, pertinent to various dynamics and diverse approaches/understandings.


Linking volunteering and sport within an international (and therefore, tourism related) context is a more recent phenomenon with much of the research focusing around events; according to Baum & Lockstone (2007), even this area lacks a holistic approach and again is concentrated on predominantly national volunteers. More recent research by Nicols (2012) suggests that sport volunteering now plays a significant role in sports policy and the current demands and pressures placed on society are encouraging international volunteering. Bringing together a collection of papers adds diverse scope into the holistic and interdisciplinary nature of contemporary sports volunteering. The field of sport volunteering in an international context is clearly both dynamic and diverse with a range of opportunities and challenges emerging. For instance, a growing number of volunteer tourism organisations are offering ‘sport volunteer projects overseas’; colleges and universities are travelling with volunteer sport students to engage with communities in a sporting context; mobility of sport volunteers is occurring at events, with volunteers travelling both domestically and overseas to take part. These burgeoning opportunities however, raise a plethora of questions and issues (see below) and it is evident that the current literature offers few answers. While these questions are inherently geographical and sociological, nascent understandings inform policy, practice and performance, thus offering greater insight to better manage future sports volunteering programmes that attract internationals.


More research needs to consider sport volunteering in an international context, especially in an era where people continually seeking opportunities abroad whilst engaging in familiar activities through what are often deemed as altruistic experiences. Consequently, this special edition seeks to provide an opportunity amongst academics and practitioners to explore the relationship between these two phenomena and present ideas that capture the dynamics and diversity of international sport volunteering. Interdisciplinary and international approaches are particularly welcomed.


We, therefore, invite chapter proposal on topics that include, but are not limited to:


  • Understanding the sport volunteer in an international context (who is the volunteer in regards to their behaviour, motivation, experience, gender, contribution, impact?) To what extent are they similar or different to other international volunteers (volunteers on projects such as humanitarian, conservation, medical)?
  • Intercultural perspectives on international sport volunteering (a recent advert stated that ‘sport is a universal language’; is this true?  If so, what affect does it have on adaptation, culture confusion and cultural exchange?  If not, what engagement is happening?
  • Supply side (which sectors are involved - private, public or third sector organisations? To what extent are partnerships being formed?)
  • Sponsorship, funding and payment (how is international sport volunteering being funded?)
  • Impact (social, economic, environmental) (is it sustainable?) upon people and places (host communities, volunteers, cities, townships) (are host communities in western cities less impacted than host communities in developing countries where international sport volunteering takes place?)
  • Social development aspects (whose development the volunteers and/or the participants?)
  • Legacy of volunteering in international sport volunteering – tangible and intangible (whose legacy - the country where the volunteering took place or the country the volunteers return to?) (To what extent do relationships continue after volunteers return home?) (Do episodic volunteers become long-term volunteers?)
  • Management of key stakeholders (what are the issues related to the management of international sport volunteering?)
  • The media is full of articles regarding the quality of volunteer tourism should the current academic debates and discussions around this include international sport volunteering.
  • Critical reflections of self, including auto-ethnographies where the international volunteer critiques their role/position during the process of volunteering and conducting research


We are happy to discuss and consider other areas and case-studies related to the main topic area of international sport volunteering


Chapter proposals should be between 300-500 words in length and should be emailed to both Angela M Benson and Nicolas Wise by the 1st May 2015.

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