Ongoing Dissertations

Awartani, Tamara

Working Title:
Fighting Youth Unemployment through Sports for Development – Palestine (West Bank & East Jerusalem)

Start of Research: 2016

Palestine is a country that is under lots of political and economic pressure associated with conflict and oppression from both the Israeli occupation and internal struggles between Fatah and Hamas political parties, thus the Palestinian society and especially youth have become increasingly split and suffering from many divisions and obstacles. One result is a very high unemployment rate amongst youth (39%). The dissertation will explore and analyse the role of sports for development (S4D) and the different interventions of S4D in increasing youth competencies and employability skills by focusing on the theoretical aspect of the education and employment system in Palestine, as well as comprehensive data from the field; youth, decision makers, policies, and statistics. It will also give an insight on the history of Palestine, the political implications, the economic and socio-cultural contexts, living conditions and youth immigration, the vocational education mindset and approach, and youth policies.  


Bauer, Katrin

Working Title: Sport in development policy - development , approaches and implementation in Germany

Start of Research: 2014

With the establishment of the Sector Programme "Sport for Development" of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ ) in early 2013, the German development policy send a sign of change and reorientation. "Sport for Development" has become an overarching topic with numerous connections to different development objectives of the Federal German Government. It was recognized that sport is not only an important tool in the educational sector, but also in the areas of health promotion, violence prevention , gender equality , good governance , inclusion or environment. The aim of the project is the determination of the status and the transformation of sport in the development policy of Germany in the past and present.  


Choi, Joohyun

Working Title: An Analysis of Sports Development in South Korea: Case Studies of ‘School Sport’, ‘Sport for All’ and ‘Elite Sport’  

Start of Research: 2017

Elite sport in South Korea has improved dramatically over the past 60 years. However, focusing only on elite sport policy by the government has led to problems and a gap between school sport, sport for all and elite sport, which is the center of the current debate in the sport policy area. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to analyze sports development in South Korea, where it lacks of data about sport policy which adopted the macro and meso level approaches. To achieve the goals mentioned above, the thesis is divided into three parts: (1) school sport, (2) sport for all and (3) elite sport. All subjects will deal with the development of sport policy and the structure of the sport system. The thesis will define the notion of sports development and introduce the Korean history and cultural background in the literature review. In addition, the research will analyze case studies of the three topics in terms of the process of sport policy change and structure of sport system in South Korea. Theoretical approaches will be conducted as groundwork. The research interprets sports development by integrating macro and meso levels of analysis to explain the complicated Korean society. Methodologically a literature and documentary inquiry will be also conducted and semi-structured interviews will be undertaken with senior officers and experts who relate to sport institutions and organizations in South Korea. A document analysis will be carried out by gathering documents and data where three cases will be examined in depth. The expected results should address not only an empirical but also theoretical relevance.

Consequently, this research will contribute to informing about sports developments in South Korea, which currently lacks information about international comparative data in sport policy area. 


Hemker, Lena

Working Title: Modern sports – a trade-off between societal and economic influencing factors

Start of Research: 2017

The last few years saw a considerable increase in the number of the so-called modern sports, both nationally and internationally. The interests and expectations of various stakeholder groups (e.g. sports societies, the media, economic players) as well as the consideration of numerous economic and societal factors seem to play increasingly important roles when introducing and developing modern sports. Companies investing in such sports by means of tailored marketing and sponsorship strategies, sports associations and clubs considering to include them in their activities and the media coining society’s perception of these sports are only a few examples of the developments outlined above. Additionally, considering the societal dimension the question arises to which extent modern sports are likely to represent a change of the society’s understanding of sports.
This dissertation aims to carry out an in-depth analysis of modern sports with a focus on the impact of societal and economic factors on their development. Thereby, a stakeholder approach will be taken. By critically reviewing the potential trade-off between the two influences the researcher intends to expand and broaden the field of research on modern sports. So far, this area of research was mostly concerned with evaluating the specific characteristics and the development of modern sports in comparison to traditional sports. 

Klems, Pia

Values in a sports club

Start of research: 2013

The importance of a sport club is based of its memberships, its resources and its financial possibilities. Mostly disregarded are the values within a sports club. Sports clubs stand for an internal and external integration of certain values. These values are an important aspect of modern society and take an impact on public life. The individual adapts certain values from other social contexts and introduces them in a sports club. The question of influence and meaning of values within a sports club on and for the individual the society and the state can be raised. Within the context of this thesis the change of values in the Ruhr area is of special interest. The panel study of values in a sports club is based on sources of chosen sports clubs. Sources are literature produced by the sports club such as celebratory publications, club papers or charters.


Kornbeck, Jacob

The European Commission's Diversification of the Sport Policy Field: increasing centralism or a classic case of spillover within a multi-level governance system?

Start of Research: 2010

As a PhD by published work, this thesis aims to revisit the activities of the European Commission (in particular but not exclusively within the years 2001 2011) to find evidence of a diversification of the sport policy field. This allows for a feedback loop towards two fundamental theoretical positions of European integration and relevant research: spillover as used in federalism/neo-functionalism as well as multi-level governance. Empirical evidence is provided through 15 already published papers within three problem areas: EU-sport articulation; anti-doping; Health-Enhancing Physical Activity (HEPA). The exercise of critically revisiting these papers was inspired theoretically by the model of the reflective practitioner.


Melzer, Marius

Changes in youth development programs in Basketball in Germany, Lithuania and Spain since 1995 – Governance between Europeanization and Globalization?

Start of research: 2012

Marius Melzer focuses on the changes in youth development programs in Basketball in Germany, Lithuania and Spain. With a combination of theoretical approaches coming from Sports Europeanization, Sports Globalization and Sports Governance, he aims to discover how the increase of the possibilities to recruit basketball players has affected the youth development programs in these countries. Melzer sees the starting point of anintensification of the national youth development programs in the Bosman-ruling of the European Court of Justice, but the core of the developments in the interaction between the national federation and the first league clubs. Therefore, Melzer has analyzed the governance arrangement between these actors to find out why Spain and Lithuania constantly promote more young players than Germany. 


Micic, Michael

"Spiritual Coaching" – Theological, social science and sport science perspectives on a new occupational area

Start of Research: 2011

Aim of this interdisciplinary project is to analyse moral concepts, ideals and lifestyle of professional soccer players in order to disclose the influence of the mentioned factors on their wellbeing and sport performance. Furthermore, the research focuses on deriving a "Spiritual and Life Coaching" model for the professional German soccer within reflecting the boundaries and possibilities of such a coaching model. As in the English and Brazilian soccer already spiritual coaching by so called "Sport Chaplains" is set in praxis, existent analysis of this area are used to develop the model. The collection of data in professional German soccer clubs is done by interviews with officials and players.

Ousu, Ali

Impacts on sport of the changes of regime and transformation in Iraq and Egypt

Start of Research: 2012

Sports fulfill numerous functions between state and society. Sport serves in particular to form national group identities, fosters international understanding, enhances cooperation and exposes the individual. Although, sport is a widely autonomous system that follows specific rules and dynamics it is open to the allocation of meanings and new functions but also to societal changes. The ongoing revolutions in the Arabic world will not only impact the society but also the sports system by changing the framing circumstances and the functions or meanings of sport. The dissertation wants to consider and analyse these changes of the sport system among the current societal and political transformations. 

Park, Jongchul

Sport for Development (SFD) in South Korea: An Analysis of Process of Sport Policy Change and Evaluation of SFD Programmes

Start of research: 2016

In recent years, sport is considered as a practical vehicle to deal with social, cultural, and economic issues around the world. In particular, diverse sport programmes have been emerged to achieve the initiatives created by the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. These initiatives are commonly called Sport for Development (SFD) programme or movement. 

 SFD programmes are concerned with sport participation, gender, socialisation, and education issues, and are directly related to children, women, disabled, and disadvantaged people. The implement of SFD is generally practiced by global North toward the global South, but several developing nations have recently implemented SFD programmes. This means that implementing SFD actions to promote social change is considered as a global trend around the world. 

South Korea has become a sports power in the world with the help of huge investment in elite athlete development system and successful holding mega event such as the 1988 Olympic Games and the 2002 FIFA World Cup. In addition, South Korea is a country of the unique example whose status has changed from an aid-recipient country to a donor country. As a result, Korean government has been trying to have interest in international outreach and cooperation through sports programmes. For instance, Dream Together programme and Dream programme have been implemented as a part of SFD action in South Korea.

 Despite increasing interests in SFD programmes, however, Korean sport policy in relation to SFD programmes tends to be political and short-termism for hosting mega event. Also, there has been little research for analysing change process of sport policy on SFD movement in South Korea compared to research, such as school sport, elite sport, and sport for all. In addition, the absence of scientific evidence of how sport activities contribute to dealing with social issues still indicates a significant gap between theory and practice.

Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to explore the change process of sport policy in South Korea in relation to Sport for Development (SFD). In addition, the thesis aims to evaluate and analyse Korean SFD programmes on the basis of Sport for Development Theory (SFDT), and then identify distinctive features of Korean SFD compared to international current SFD movement. Lastly, the thesis will pursue to suggest direction of improvement regarding SFD in South Korea.


Rodewald, Marion

The role of athlete-commissions


Seltmann, Maximilian

Seltmann, Maximilian

Working Title

Olympic Athletes as Political Players in the Sports World: A New Normative and Empirical Challenge to the Legitimacy of the Olympic Movement?


The last years have seen an immense increase in athlete’s involvement in the politics of the Olympic Movement. The traditional form of athlete representation in Sport Governing Bodies of the Olympic Movement, called Athletes’ Commissions or Committees, have advanced their activities and more often stress the role of athletes as key players of the Olympic Movement. Besides this trend, employment related issues, usually found in professional sports, i.e. questions of wage, social security and collective bargaining, have come to the fore in Olympic sports as well, leading to the establishment of independent, athlete-lead organizations. While these organizations vary in their aims, scope and the context they operate in, they all point towards a similar point: Athletes demand a role in the power and decision-making structures of the Olympic Movement which is traditionally shaped by the notion of amateurism, voluntary engagement and solidarity among its stakeholders. This dissertation project analyzes which normative and empirical challenges arise due to this development of emancipating athletes. It builds on established theories of legitimacy and applies a variety of empirical methods to assess the institutional and individual role of athlete within the Olympic Movement. In so doing, the project informs reform options or Sport Governing Bodies and athletes’ organizations alike and illustrates a possible future for the Olympic Movement.

Ücgüler, Ayla-Karen

Spiritual yoga tourism as a prevention in stressful stats. Potentials and limits of yoga tourism for the development of destinations: the example of Marocco.


Yoga and Meditation finds a great approval in the society today. New yogastiles are emerging and the old tradition from India, which has found its way into the Western wold through the US in the 1950s, is modernized and adapted to the everyday life of the Western society. Yoga promises relaxation, physical strengthening, mental fitness and a sense of harmony with body, mind and soul. The choice of products is growing steadily. Magazines, books, clothing, workshops, travel – spirituality has long become an economic sector. What is the target group for this emerging economic and social sector? Is the motivation for yoga and yoga tourism the stress factor, which is the couse of popular diseases in today’s society? Which are the main motives of the target group for a spiritual travel based on yoga? Is it the stress and escaping from everyday life? Is it the search for calm and relaxation with spiritual added value? These questions are to be considered in this dissertation project before it is determined which effects, opportunities and limits this has for the destination that offers spiritual tourism. How does spiritual tourism affects on sustainability? How can spiritual tourism be used in destination development and social projects? The aim of this project is to answer these questions and to set up a concept for destinations using the example of Marocco.




Witzani, Ursula

Youth Sport Policy in Europe
Cross-National Comparison and the Perspectives of Europeanization  

Start of research: 2015

The health and physical activity of children and teenager currently counts as polarizing topic. Nowadays, the topic children and youth sport - as the foundation of long-lasting physical activity – fills political agendas in Europe. Thereby the missing structures or the lacking cooperation between various stakeholder are criticized. Until now, the scientific research shows a reluctance to this research field. A cross-national comparison, concentrated on the structures and system of youth sport, does not yet exist.

The aim of the planned Doctoral Thesis lies within a systematic analysis of the multi-dimensional and complex policy field youth sport and a comparison at multinational level. Concretely the differences of the selected countries are examined and analyzed, in view of the to be investigated criteria in the youth sport area. Besides the multinational analysis and the consideration on supranational level, the policy field youth sport will be set in a European context and will be discussed with regard to the Europeanization approach. 

Methodologically a literature and documentary inquiry will be conducted as groundwork. Building on this, expert interviews will be undertaken which will be evaluated with qualitative content analysis. Through theory and methodology, an applicable categorization should be developed to be able to investigate European youth sport system with a holistic design.

Consequently, the expected results should display not only an empirical but also theoretical relevance. Furthermore, the research should induce to further research, as well as should provide profitable implications for the investigated countries.