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.
Working Title: Impact and sustainability of sport-based social interventions in Latin America
Start of Research: 2020
The purpose of this investigation is to analyse the impact and the sustainability of sport-based social interventions in Latin America by comparing the projects implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German government in Brazil and in Colombia. As these interventions build on the existing activities and structures of governmental and non-governmental organizations and aim to create opportunities for development across several systemic levels, their study and evaluation offer the opportunity to have a comprehensive understanding of the “sport for development” sector in Latin America. Therefore, it will evaluate, at the micro, meso and macro levels, the two projects’ structure, implementation, impact, and sustainability, while considering the specific social and political contexts in which they take place. By identifying the social, political processes and mechanisms that contribute and support to the positive (and perhaps negative) outcomes, this investigation will contribute to the literature in sports sciences in a multidisciplinary manner. The findings will also support German and Latin American stakeholders in implementing evidence-based strategies in the future.
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.
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.
From central government administration to the governance-oriented organization of sport in the People's Republic of China? - Community Sports and Fitness Clubs as a new variant of the participation of a third sector for self-organized sport: the example of Shanghai
Start of Research: 2015
As a new organizational form of Chinese sports clubs, the model of community sports and fitness clubs combines, at least conceptually, the most important characteristics of non-governmental, non-profit organizations and (self-)organized sport. In this respect, this work aims first of all to handle with the phenomenon of non-governmental, non-profit organizations from China's emerging Third Sector and the sports sector concerning their classification, their contributions to the Chinese economy and society, their legality and also their historical development. Subsequently, on the basis of the current legal situation and legal framework concerning the political measures for their registration, control and administration, the existing forms of Chinese non-governmental, non-profit organizations and the possible categorization and differentiation of non-profit sports organizations, including non-profit sports clubs will be explained.
Through an interdisciplinary perspective of approaches based on political, social science (at macro level) and organization theory (at meso level), a theoretical framework is to be formed on the one hand about a balancing or differentiation between governmental central administration and governance-oriented self-organization in relation to the third sector. On the other hand, this should result in a two-dimensional explanatory model with corresponding research hypotheses.
In the empirical surveys, CSFKs, which are limited to at least one economically and socially developed region of China, are closely examined as a representative sample. An inventory of organizational constructions, structures, management measures by members, personnel, sports infrastructure, cooperation as well as financing measures and policy of sports portfolios of CSFKs should be carried out. Based on the induced explanatory model and the hypothetical research questions, the aim is to clarify how the established CSFKs, as a new variant of organized sport, can pursue the societal interest in sport in the narrower sense. In addition, an attempt will be made to clarify whether and why the CSFKs, as part of the third sector, can pursue civic interests on participation or involvement in self-organization of sports activities in the broader sense.
"Life Coaching in German Professional and Junior Football" - On the Systemic-Organizational Classification and Effective Design of a New Subject and Work Field between Responsibility and Performance Orientation, Secularity and Spirituality
The subject of this interdisciplinary study is an analysis of the interpretations of meaning and values as well as the way professional and junior soccer players and coaches shape their lives. The aim is to find out what influence the above-mentioned factors have on holistic well-being and athletic performance and how they are dealt with in German professional soccer clubs. In addition, the action-oriented research project aims to develop a "life coaching" model for German professional and junior soccer derived from the research results obtained and, in doing so, also to reflect on the opportunities and limitations in implementing such a form of care as an independent format between the neighboring formats or disciplines of sports psychology, sports psychiatry and psychotherapy, and sports pastoral care. One focus of the research project is on analyses of English professional and youth soccer, since in the Premier League, questions about interpretations of meaning and values as well as about the shaping of life have been dealt with for many years in the context of spiritual care by so-called "sport chaplains" at the majority of clubs. In addition, further relevant sources and studies on the research area, which originate primarily from the Anglo-American area, will be collected and analyzed. For the data collection in different German professional soccer clubs, semi-standardized guided interviews will be conducted with responsible persons (e.g. coaches, managers, CEOs), advisors, supervisors and players.
Working Title: Together on the Field, United off of it? Defining, Mapping and Evaluating Sport and Social Cohesion Programmes in Europe
Start of Research: 2020
Given the growing levels of change and diversity in Europe, encouraging social cohesion is seen as increasingly important for the stability, growth and solidarity across the continent. Indeed, at the national and European levels, numerous governmental and civil society actors have emphasised the importance of social cohesion and its different components. Despite the increasing activity and recognition in the area of sport and social cohesion, there remain important gaps in our knowledge concerning sport and social cohesion programming in Europe. This gap manifests itself in three ways. Firstly, we have limited knowledge about the types of organisations delivering these programmes and their approaches. Secondly, even with the plentitude of formal definitions of social cohesion, these definitions do not reflect the actual understanding of practitioners and participants at the local level. Finally, there remains a lack of evidence regarding the impact of these programmes. In response to these gaps, this thesis wishes to understand and map the structure, approaches, local definitions, and outcomes of sport and social cohesion programmes. Using these different elements, this thesis ultimately seeks to answer the following: what is the overall process that leads to social cohesion outcomes in sport programmes in Europe?
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.
Chances and Limitations of Sports Diplomacy in the Western Balkans
Start of Research
Since the Lisbon Treaty entered into force, the EU has considered the potential of sport to assist with the amplification of foreign policy messages. European sports policies of the past decade are characterised by numerous activities and by on-going differentiation.
Sport as a diplomatic tool is increasingly gaining relevance amplifying foreign policy and diplomatic messages. It can be used to enhance its international brand with a view to leveraging new political and economic opportunities.
Putting a focus on the Western Balkan area, the renewed approach to Western Balkan enlargement, the EU seeks to capitalize from its current economic and political recovery and draw the region closer. It becomes clear that sport’s role in post-socialist states’ foreign policy is a topic that has been given less attention within the academic field of sports and international relations.
The envisaged dissertation aims to fill a gap in the academic literature and should bring new research perspectives. Effective efforts will be made to shine a light on the situation in the Western Balkan area, especially some targeted countries (such as Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia, etc.).
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.
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.
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.
Understanding the Sport Policy Process in China: The Dialectical Relationships between Actors, Contexts and Policy Networks
Start of Research: 2020
The Reform since the 1970s created unprecedented potential for understanding bureaucratic relations and policy processes in China, likewise, in the sport domain. Burgeoning attention has been paid to the sport policy process recently, regarding its relationship with politics, the role of authority, the interaction during the process, how sport policy is made, or even, is there a way to open the ‘black box’ of sport policy-making in China. Policy Networks, as a highly illuminating theoretical gateway in understanding the sport policy process in China, has been tested in the completed master thesis of Danlin Wu. Elaborating on the empirical study, the policy network for sport in China do form a more integrated policy community, that comprised inner areas of the Party co-existing state bureaucrats and outer circles of sporadic and issue-related QUANGOs and other actors.
As an extension of the Master thesis, this Ph.D. dissertation would like to further generate the dialectical relationships between those key elements (i.e., actors, networks, contextual factors, etc.) in the policy process. Meso-level Framework of Policy Network is placed at the center of analysis, and macro-level variables regarding Fragmented Authoritarianism and the Chinese Model of Consensus Decision-Making are added to improve the explanatory utility to the sport policy process in China. The planed dissertation adopts a qualitative research approach. Interviews with pertinent experts, scholars, and officialdoms in the field, as well as content analysis of both policy documents, government reports, official publications, correspondence between the network actors, personal archives, meeting records, interview records and so forth serve this end. Consequently, the dialectical nexus in both abstract and concrete forms in sport policy process in China can be explored.
Insights into China's Leisure Sports: from the Perspective of Sustainability
Start of Research
With the implementation of legal holidays and the rapid development of economy, leisure sport has gradually become an important agenda of China's leisure development and also sports development. In the foreseeable future and as an important national development strategy, leisure sport will become an important part of public policy, especially in the field of sports policy. This study attempts to conduct a basic research on the development of leisure sports in China. Firstly, the study will outline the historical context of the development of Leisure sports in China with the transformation of leisure sports policy as the core. More importantly, from the perspective of sustainability, this study will comprehensively apply analytical frameworks and theories from the fields of policy science, sociology and sports science, to explore the sustainability of the leisure sports policy itself (including interaction between policy and economic, political, social development), the sustainability of individual development under the policy (physical literacy), the sustainability of ecological environment under the effect of policy (sports-themed town). The study will eventually form a comprehensive evaluation study on the sustainability of leisure sports development in China, and give evidence-based suggestions for future development by exploring the past, present and future of China's leisure sports policy.