Anglia Ruskin University
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Liberia: Tournaments and T-Shirts

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posted on 2023-08-30, 15:24 authored by Gary Armstrong, James Rosbrook-Thompson, Holly Collison
Over the past 15 years the genre now referred to as Sport for Peace and Development (SPD) has seen various policy initiatives in many theatres of conflict. Those in this field include variously non-governmental organisations (NGOs), charities, world organisations, sporting governing bodies, national governments, commercial entities, individual foundations and academics. The opportunities for debate on this issue are endless and have provided platforms for the most earnest humanitarians as well as the self-aggrandising and delusional. In the elusive search for world peace and reconciliation in war-damaged societies people will understandably try various means of bringing about reconciliation. In such circumstances two objectives dominate the political process. The first is that armed combat is prevented and peace – however tenuous –is sustained. Secondly, future stability has to be sought and promoted both by those who seek to keep the peace and by those that began or participated in the conflict. There are various issues integral to such pursuits. The most obvious concerns the best way of achieving such desired outcomes and begs the supplementary question as to the people best placed to pursue them. What follows permits an ethnographic account to consider the promotion and delivery of specific SDP projects in post-conflict Liberia, West Africa which provides for a micro-study SDP in action Such delivery can be positioned variously as both the intentional use of sport –more specifically football – for rehabilitation and peace-building and as an everyday practice and national obsession that presented opportunities to intersect the game of football with moral, social and politically motivated interventions focused towards building a peaceful civil society. A challenge in a country like Liberia, that is scarcely visited by its funders and often instils fear amongst those academics tasked to monitor projects, is regulating practices and evaluating impact in a meaningful way. Liberia often presents a seductive narrative and image to the SDP apparatachiks. But, we might ask, at what consequence to the local populations whose primary focus is daily sustenance and survival? Do such interests do no harm?



  • Yes

Number of pages



Routledge Studies in Sport Development



Place of publication

Abingdon, UK

Title of book

Routledge Handbook of Sport for Development and Peace




Holly Collison, Simon C. Darnell, Richard Giulianotti, P. David Howe

File version

  • Accepted version


  • eng

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Legacy Faculty/School/Department

Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

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