Sport-for-development and the struggle for subaltern voices to be recognised: A response to Manley, Morgan and Atkinson

Davies Banda, Matthew Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In their article entitled, ‘Mzungu!’: implications of identity, role formation and programme delivery in the sport for development movement, published in volume 8(3) of this journal, Manley, Morgan and Atkinson focus on constructions of volunteer identities using Goffman’s dramaturgical analysis of social interactions. Their empirical work is based on an international volunteering placement within the sport-for-development (SfD) sector in Zambia. The authors highlight social interactions between UK student volunteers and host country social actors as encounters that influence volunteer identity, role formation or identity disruption. We offer a response to their article with particular attention to critiquing the knowledge production and programme development approaches employed to undertake research among economically marginalised communities. We draw on postcolonial theory and Long’s actor-oriented approach to capture alternative narratives in SfD research. To support our critical response to the limited application of the dramaturgical perspective by Manley et al., we further apply four of Goffman’s perspectives to analyse social establishments. By so doing, we bring to the fore social processes within which the agency of local social actors is neglected by Manley et al. Instead, the authors state their sampling limitations. We argue that it is the responsibility of privileged intellectuals in global North institutions to reach out to subaltern voices rather than resorting to stating limitations of sampling techniques. Such limitations simply extend the marginalisation of global South voices and exacerbate asymmetrical powers which enable those with resources to undertake SfD research to define the ‘other’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-738
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
Issue number4
Early online date6 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017


  • sport-for-development
  • identity
  • social interaction
  • dramaturgical perspective
  • subaltern voice
  • student volunteer
  • hegemony


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