Table of contents
A roadmap to initiation, integration and innovation of SDP
Thesis rationale, assumptions, and theoretical foundation
Practicality of theoretical content.
Initiation - Moral development and its worth
The theory of Ethics
Aiming for perpetual peace according to Kant
A moral identity that reaches beyond
Creating a safe haven for moral development
Moral development as a form of conflict transformation
Creativity a core principle for conflict resolution
Moral education a means to transform conflicts
Moral development in business.
Integration - Sport as vehicle for moral education
A critical reflection of current SDP practices
Scope and status of SDP today
The paradoxical nature of SDP
International Sport Federations and their approach to development work
Common objectives of contemporary SDP practices.
Ethical principles governing and protecting sport’s moral worth
Towards a ‘mutual quest for excellence’
Ethical considerations of Simon’s ideas
Human excellence as an underlying principle
Innovation - Liberal education making sport a tool for moral development
Sport, Universalism and Education
Sport as a valued human practice.
(Re-)gaining an appreciation of the inner values of sport.
Sport, morals, and the freedom of choice
Limitations and possibilities of sport.
The impartiality and universality of virtues.
Planning, introducing, and implementing a liberal environment
A program that exemplifies ways for moral development
Challenges and limitations.
Not any and not all sport
Considering the context
Flexible allocation of resources.
Conclusion and Acknowledgement
Creating moral agents of change
SDP a cooperative and bidirectional learning experience
The Western world commonly champions the power of sport for social cohesion and communal pride (Schulenkorf, 2011) through sporting mega events and small-scale development projects. Empirical evidence, however, that proof those claims are scarce (Chalip, 2006; Coalter, 2007; Kidd, 2008). Sport for good has received critics based on statistical proof that neither economical nor other social benefits reach the ones in need (Briedenhann, 2011). Even further most projects claiming to assist the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/) are poorly implemented and lack coordination with mainstream development activities (Tiessen, 2011). The complexity of conflicts and difficulty to transform those to achieve sustainable peace makes it impossible for sport as a single phenomenon to be detached from broader initiatives. Consequently, the document hereafter aims to combine theory and anecdotal evidence to suggest a Sport for Development and Peace framework (SDP) that is believed to be universal and leaves positive legacies behind. The suggested methodology utilizes the ideas of liberal education and the perks of sport to facilitate moral development.
Keywords: Sportfor Development and Peace, SDP, Moral Development, Liberal Education,
Mutual Quest for Excellence, Conflict Transformation.
Sport and physical education are frequently understood as a means to accomplish any or all of the following: building good character; teaching values such as loyalty, dedication, or teamwork; strengthening a community’s identity; transforming conflicts and establishing sustainable peace. The power of sport as a sociological and political tool has been used since colonial times and experienced its peak in 2005, when the United Nations announced the International Year of Sport and Physical Education. However, as long as sport has been celebrated as an all-purpose tool, it has also been criticized to do quite the opposite of what it actually claims. The author of this document, while believing sport can make a difference, finds himself somewhere in the middle and is hence very cautious in assessing sport’s ability to achieve social inclusion, community development and conflict resolution. In particular, the emergence of the Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) terminus in 1992 and the following boost in sport for good programs concerns: Does sport intensify issues or rather promote peace and strengthen a community’s identity, given that evidence suggests both?
The document hereafter focuses on SDP and critically evaluates its appropriateness to fight social ills. The field of development is a very delicate one where actions need to be chosen very carefully to bring about change. In particular, third party intervention might be misguided by wrongful assumptions about the historical, social, and cultural context. It has been argued that current SDP initiatives overly rely on Western ideals and claim to be a defacto standard to shape Global North-South relations. The researcher wants to distant himself from those presuppositions of ideological superiority and intends to develop a framework which relies on the inherent transformative strength of the hosting community. Consequently, this thesis provides an approach to SDP that is need-based and comes from within, facilitating a mutual togetherness by celebrating humanities’ greatest gift: diversity.
This thesis is structured in three related parts: first, it develops an impartial and universal foundation, culturally and socially unbiased and hence adaptable to various contexts and applicable to accomplish a variety of goals. The researcher has come to understand that such a framework can only be based on ethical theory, wherefore several philosophies are evaluated initially. Arguments supporting the positive impact of ethical training and seeing moral reasoning as mutually beneficial are ample; controversially, however, immoral behavior and decision making appear to have intensified, emerging as global concern. While the West blames ‘the Resť to trample upon humanitarian rights, is the former’s winner-takes-it- all mentality blamed to have caused irresponsible and selfish behavior. This document found that moral principles are ambiguous and interpretative, whereas cognitive moral development can be understood as culturally and socially independent. Therefore, it is suggested that developing moral values should be a pivotal part to and objective of any development activity.
Consequently, the second part of this document argues that sport needs to become a vehicle for moral development while basing its practice on a social contract, collaboratively striving for human excellence. Current SDP practices have been found to commonly rely on and reproduce Western ideals, risking intensification of issues they want to mitigate. In particular, programs are inadequately planned and executed, lacking integration in wider development initiatives and failing to leave behind positive legacies. Sport can convey moral values, but the experience needs to become part of an educational scheme, which is explained in the final part of this thesis. The researcher discovered that moral development needs to rely on a voluntary and mutual agreement to a code of conduct for all participants. Morality develops intellectually and practically; thus sport, being activity-based, needs to pair with a form of liberal education to reflect and fully comprehend the benefits of ethical, just behavior and mutual togetherness irrespective of any social or cultural characteristics.
Table of Figures
Figure 1 : Thesis Roadmap
Figure 2: Cycle of moral development.
Figure 3: The worth of moral development
Figure 4: Sport as a way to experience diversity
Figure 5: Developing an innate sense of moral duty.
Figure 6: Moral agents of change...
A Sport for Development and Peace framework that facilitates moral development
through liberal education and sport
Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) is a fairly new field of study, as far as specific literature and scholarly efforts are concerned. Most initiatives in the area proclaim to assist all eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG). This thesis argues that sport as a tool for development and peace needs to be more specific and integrated in other adjacent, wider efforts. In particular, it is suggested that universal and impartial objectives are inevitable to set the stage (the ends) for any SDP initiative, on which ground thereafter appropriate tools (the means) can be selected and applied to achieve those goals. Consequently, this paper develops recommendations based on a qualitative analysis of possible foundations to install SDP programs and suggests possibilities and limitations using sport to fulfill the targets which the development activity is meant to accomplish.
A roadmap to initiation, integration and innovation of SDP
Part one named ‘Initiation - Moral development and its worth’ specifies a goal that is adjustable to various situations, yet supported by a universal philosophy serving the greater good of our global community. This paper proves that such an objective can only be an ethical one and discusses, therefore various ethical theories from Kant to Hobbes while addressing possibilities how moral values can be initiated and just behavior developed.
Part two, titled ‘Integration - Sport as vehicle for moral education ’ shows that sport constitutes an appropriate tool for moral development, as it is suggested in part one to be an underlying principle of SDP programs. Most contemporary SDP practices lack such a foundation, which results in questionable sustainability of those programs. Long-term planning is essential to assist objectives of wider development activities. The often short-sighted initiatives might be the reason why SDP is often poorly integrated.
Part three, called ‘Innovation - Liberal education connecting sport and moral development provides arguments against the critiques of current SDP practices of not being sustainable and inappropriate for assisting in wider development efforts, as is addressed throughout part two. It is suggested that sport needs to be accompanied by a form of liberal education which reflects on-the-field experiences and extends those to other areas of social life.
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Figure 1: Thesis Roadmap
The figure above depicts the approach described; modeling SDP as an innovated as well as integrated initiative that is initiated and founded on a code of conduct, facilitated by both educational and experience-based methods to develop morals values.
Thesis rationale, assumptions, and theoretical foundation
The author rests his claims on the assumption, which is detailed further, that moral development through sport and liberal education is a likely answer to transform conflicts, which experiencing and transcending are arguably inevitable parts of moral development. Most influential has been the work of Thomas Hobbes (Morgan, 2007) who claims that we have good non-moral reasons to be moral. The basic idea is that human agents cannot achieve what they want in life without the cooperation of others (aka interdependence). Realizing that we may not be self-sufficient, as independent as society wants us to believe we are will initially lead to opposition, antagonism against ourselves and most likely towards others, which then will unavoidably constitute a conflict.
While moving on, i.e. developing our morals, beginning to respect, appreciating and acknowledging others’ worth and benefits for us, we may create, as Hobbes calls it, a social contract. Written and unwritten rules which govern our society, allow us to derive ethical principles we can base our decisions upon. Thus in contrast to Kant’s (De Vries, 1997) deon- tological philosophy that all human beings have an innate sense of moral duty, we may understand we have no other choice but to act morally just and serve the greater good (i.e. utilitarian), if we are to fulfill our personal goals and live up to our very own expectations. Hence this proposal creates yet two paradoxes in regards to utilitarianism: deontological views are the base for the liberal education element (cf. Innovation - Liberal education making sport a tool for moral development) and Hobbes’ version of contractarian perspective is the foundation of the sport component (cf. Integration - Sport as vehicle for moral education).
The main principle shall be that participants learn the former, developing an innate sense of morality, facilitated through experiencing the latter, by acting moral even though initially not because of conviction, but based on mutually agreed principles. Learning abstract ethical concepts is one part of the formula, experiencing what it means to apply them the other fragment. Success in team sport, for instance, requires values such as cooperation, equity, fairness, and the adherence to written or unwritten rules (i.e. social contract). Participants are meant to develop morals, which become an integral part of their behavior by being capable of reflecting on a variety of situations and critical reflect on own belief and values, incrementally adopting to strive for the greater good as it is illustrated in the suggested moral development cycle below (Figure 2).
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Figure 2: Cycle of moral development
Practicality of theoretical content
Though this thesis mainly focuses on delivering theory - it is therefore primarily analytical and qualitative - to design a well-founded framework, a universal and adaptable approach to moral development, it shall also offer some practicability. Too often insurmountable barriers between theory and reality are discussed, which makes one question the legitimacy for either. Thus the ideas outlined throughout this document are supported by an assessment of local and international practices that shall strengthen the arguments made, and as Hoffmann and Weiss (2008) put it establish a ‘middle ground between the worlds of abstraction and application’ (p. 265).
The previous statement may be particularly important when social sciences come under scrutiny, and even more so, as is the case with this thesis, when an abstract concept such as morality is addressed. Conflict regarding human rights and basic human needs can barely be rationalized and theorized. Too complex is the web of contextual factors which underlie those dissents. From this perspective, agreeing upon universal moral values appears to be a far-cry, yet the methodology outlined in this research is not meant to give definite answers to past or current issues. Rather it should be understood as a process, as an initiation that builds a solid foundation; a basis that can help to overcome conflicts in the future; an emergence of a small group of moral agents of change, promoting the benefits of togetherness and mutuality that may provide answers to social ills independent from cultural and social circumstances.
Initiation - Moral development and its worth
Initially, to provide answers to the research question, an ethical framework that is universal, useful for moral development and adaptable while allowing utilization of SDP tools and methods needs to be defined. Ethical philosophies are evaluated in the following, mainly Kant’s work on how to establish perpetual peace and thinkers reflecting on his ideas. The research provides arguments of the worth such an ideology offers to a variety of situations, independent from cultural and social circumstances. Additionally, current practices of moral education and development are evaluated, limitations of teaching the theory of ethics addressed, while recommending a more suitable approach. Precisely, it is argued that the development of moral values facilitates ethical, just behavior and is in contrast to the theory of ethics not ambiguous or interpretive. Reasoning should always be based upon principles that benefit the greater good of society, no matter the specifics of the situation, even if certain acts from an external perspective could be perceived as ethically biased.
The theory of Ethics
Aiming for perpetual peace according to Kant.
A discussion about morals could begin with Babylonian philosophies, though this thesis begins with more modern theories from the 17th and 18th centuries. In particular, Immanuel Kant is considered, a German philosopher who, among other works, wrote a philosophical sketch about perpetual peace in 1795. The researcher argues that this particular piece can be understood as a predecessor of contemporary peace and conflict studies. As such, it is closely linked with the development activities which are addressed throughout this document. It should be noted that the author of this thesis is not a philosopher and thus interpretations are rather conclusive to support the main arguments of this thesis.
When we read Kant’s (1795) philosophical sketch ‘toward perpetual peace’ the introductory statement might surprise, given that he begins by claiming that his words are not harmful to any politician - not in his time and not in the future. It could be argued that Kant was well aware that his philosophy, no matter how reasonable, would not be considered, labeled as utopia, far away from any practicality. At least this appears to be a logical conclusion considering that society, more than 200 years later, has not found answers to war or social ills. Likely even that Kant was well aware that in order for his words to be followed by action humans would need to become inherently rational beings. Irrationality, however, is rather frequent and thus neither practitioners nor scholars may be able to find universal answers to questions of establishing world peace, promoting human right equity, or fulfilling basic human needs. No matter how idealistic Kant’s words may appear, his philosophy can still support our understanding of how conflict develops and provide ideas on how sustainable peace might come in reach.
Kant’s first paragraph discusses the structural nature of disagreement and the observation that even if a peace agreement is signed, perpetual peace can’t reasonably be assumed. Rather we may speak of ceasefire, a form of stalemate that can lead to de-escalation, but may as well change nothing at all. Even reaching a stage of negotiation may not bring an end to oppression or contentious tactics. For example, despite the agreement of Syria’s government to let in unarmed military observers to monitor the ceasefire that was agreed upon in April 2012, it has been violated every day since. Thus, we still cannot speak of a peacemaking mission, because dialogue and negotiations requires a mutual willingness to talk.
The question remains, where we are left in a conflict like Syria? One party could exploit the assumption of the other that hostilities will end to regain strength and weaken the other. Therefore, trust remains fragile until it becomes a mutual cooperative effort formed out of an understanding that the best outcome is a joint effort. In particular, in conflicts where power relations are asymmetric (i.e. there is the oppressor and the oppressed), if one party violates an agreement, in the short-term he might gain the most, even though research showed that in competitive environments - which in a sense includes conflict situations - there has at first to be a small number of cooperative initiatives from both sides that help to create a win- win situation in the long-run. From a social perspective, the deeper and longer a relationship between parties is or has to be, the more important cooperation becomes to achieve mutual acceptable and beneficial ends. The necessity to establish a bond between two entities to overcome conflict may not be obvious at first, because we cannot assume the ones in power see a need for collaboration, which may also hold true for the oppressed. It is not surprising, therefore, that in times of issues that arise out of the need for continued existence (so called survival conflict), an agreement may be easier to find.
A moral identity that reaches beyond.
Kant’s philosophy, addressing the nature of conflict, follows a list of laws for perpetual peace. Most of his arguments reach beyond domestic activities and are targeted towards international cohesion. This does not imply, however, that those rules are universal. Though answers to the world’s most pressing issues will remain situation-specific, developing moral values, the ability to consider various options based on the information on hand, carries some commonality that can provide a general platform. Methodologies, on the other hand, may have to be adjusted, selection processes for participants adapted and lessons altered towards social and cultural accepted means while the philosophy remains the same: to provide a foundation in which moral values can prosper and develop, instating a group of ambassadors of change that advocate for mutual understanding in their regions and beyond. As such, we may be able to fulfill in the long-run and as Moravcsik (1996) put it, ‘Kant’s proposal for a foedus pacificum, an international federation’ (p. 123) whose identity is carried by compatible moral values.
Kant’s argument to form an international federation is according to Czempiel (1996) a prerequisite for sustainable peace; an alliance that is founded on a shared identity based on a mutual understanding of moral values. Even though acts - i.e. the expression of those principles - will vary by situation and individual, those irrevocable differences form the historical, cultural, and societal diversity that understanding, respecting, living, and celebrating establishes an appreciation and realization of the benefits of different belief and value systems. Consequently eliminating or at least reducing the potential for conflict.
In general, interpretations of Kant’s views vary; some scholars argue that he never believed in world governments, or international federations for that matter. His words could be understood as a warning that centralized entities would most likely oppress the distinctiveness of national traditions; even though diversity is one of human kind’s most significant strengths. Regardless of what Kant’s real intent might have been, it appears inevitable that he believed the uniqueness of cultures needs to be obtained as one of humanity most precious goods. Thus, we may not talk about a specific organizational form, but rather a set of diverse people that share moral values as the foundation on which ethical behavior may flourish. Neither should other cultures be overemphasized, nor should other ideals, beliefs and values be oppressed; differences between cultures should be celebrated to create a healthy relationship based on a mutual understanding of moral values that togetherness is the only answer to conflict and overcoming social ills.
Creating a safe haven for moral development.
Kant continues his sketch that in order to achieve perpetuity of peace all agreements would have to be united, to form a coalition of peace that eliminates all conflicts. This would, however, require absence of oppression and segregation; situations in which all human beings are either equal or perceive their conditions as even-handed. That one may in one’s lifetime not achieve the former appears undisputable, but establishing an appreciation of self and creating or at least adjusting circumstances to allow personal satisfaction might be a somewhat realistic scenario. The social environment of a school is believed to create a safe haven where personalities can prosper, equality can be accomplished, and oppression might be limited. Certainly, one may argue that no matter how small this social world might be, it will mirror its hosting society. Even though this might be true, it is the belief of the author that the particulars of the development world create a somewhat unique case.
First, we could consider the possibility to unplug people from their natural habitat, to create a culture where core moral values of equity and unity are agreed, accepted, and lived. Even though each participant’s culture will initially determine who they are, how they behave, and what they think about certain situations, groups, and circumstances, this document argues culture is not necessarily permanent and can change over time or depending on place. Second, the author would like to contend that a pre-assessment needs to happen, to at the least, establish an understanding of each individual’s learned social and cultural norms. The process would need to reveal mutual beliefs and values which can be used to create a powerful bond between the participants. For example, history has shown that even the commonality of oppression can form a coalition that allows the formation of a culture. Finally, it needs to be understood that implementing the suggested methodology would establish a subculture emerging from a dominant one, in which its exclusivity would both protect it from external forces, yet limit it to the program’s boundaries. Nonetheless, it is the assumption of this thesis that experienced-based education within a culture can create moral agents of change, which may well spread the values and beliefs they have acquired. If we can inspire a few, we may establish a subculture, even if fragmented, that in the long-term may positively impact a dominant one that rests on hate and conflict.
Moral education may be understood as a sole theoretical endeavor, though this thesis wants to provide arguments that there are means to convey ethics to real-life situations. It is, however, also understood that moral principles are interpretative, individual, and time as well as situation specific. Thus, exposure to different conditions, experiencing moral behavior in a variety of circumstances and in different roles, analyzing the results of certain events together and becoming more reflective of one’s own and other’s actions, may transcend beyond the limited scale of a program.
Moral development as a form of conflict transformation
Creativity a core principle for conflict resolution.
The conflicting nature of oppression and marginalization within the borders of one country are hard to grasp, no matter if one is an internal or external observer. Nowadays, in addition, we live in a globalized world where issues spread, because belief and value systems are not condemned to geographical nominations anymore. For instance, on September 12th, 2012, flags of the United States were burning after demonstrations in Libya and Egypt. It was argued that the recent attacks were related to a provoking movie that had been uploaded to YouTube which portrayed the prophet Mohammed as an adulterer, child-abuser, and bloodthirsty gangster. Even though the film had been available since July 2012, it gained publicity after Terry Jones, pastor of a small fundamentalist Christian church in Gainsville, Florida, used the video for his propaganda against the Islamic world. Pastor Jones, who is not directly involved in any conflict in the Arabic World could be classified as tertiary party; utilizing a new weapon, social media, which while benefiting the formation of an identity by facilitating communication among oppressed groups (cf. social media use during the Egyptian revolution), also gives birth to new conflict potential that might be too unregulated to be controlled or contained.
Conflicts do not develop in a vacuum; several contextual factors influence nature and form, as outlined in Abdalla’s (2002) model C.R. SIPABIO. In order to build peace and transform a conflict, all elements have to be taken into account. Each feature carries assumptions or even stereotypes, which may either de- or escalate a conflict. No matter if gender, religion, class, ethnicity, disability, or alike are considered, they are historically, culturally, and socially constructed, carrying beliefs that may or may not harm a relationship between two parties. Further amplified by the ubiquitous accessibility to media (e.g., internet, TV, radio), and their own representation of those elements, may support but can also hamper mutual understanding. It is not surprising, therefore, that international development and aid have to reach and think beyond established concepts. We may even argue that given all the complexity of international relations tools for conflict resolution and peace building will always have to be adapted to account for changing or new contextual factors.
Moral education a means to transform conflicts.
Even though we would like to argue that being evil is not a born attitude, we could similarly contend that being peaceful isn’t either. Mapping or predicting human behavior is as equally challenging as plotting a conflict. Therefore, we may suggest that in order to find peace, we need to establish a deep understanding of all stakeholders (parties), no matter if primarily, secondarily, or tertiary. Each and every individual will engage in a certain behavior, an obvious one and one that will be driven by his/her personal interest(s). It might be suggested that the latter stems from learned values and attitudes, but it could as well be an emotional reaction towards an unknown situation. It may, consequently, be argued that learning a set of moral ground rules and experiencing what those mean for a better together, so that one can act upon all information available, could limit impulsive behavior, making conflict situations more predictable and finding a peaceful solution more likely.
If we could understand the deeper values attached to a certain behavior, we may well be able to predict an outcome or at least consider means to intervene. A discussion about moral behavior may from this perspective lack substance, but if we agree with Delaney and Sockell (1992) that ethical programs are beneficial, one step would be the development of them. This paper would like to argue that it appears unreasonable to teach ethics in theory, because the risk that it is interpreted in a way that there is no right or wrong answer might tacitly encourage immoral behavior. If we want to establish a broader perspective on general welfare, of the belief that conflict is not a zero-sum game, then the author of this document would like to claim that we need to teach moral judgment as Kohlberg (1964) described it as ‘the capacity to make decisions and judgments that are moral (i.e., based on internal principles) and to act in accordance with such judgments’ (p. 425). Education, in general, appears to be an applicable approach that helps to reflect upon all available information, decide what to do, when and what is right or wrong. In a world where conflict appears to have become ubiquitous, where human rights are regularly violated, and violence is a more common response than we may rationally want to admit, morallyjust behavior will remain difficult. Relations of power are too asymmetric and too incomplete is the understanding of conflicting parties’ wants and needs to one-size-fits-all solution. However, if moral behavior is understood as serving the greater good of society, if we can inspire a few who come to understand the benefits of social togetherness even in times of conflict, we may form a coalition that has the power to trans- form conflict. Impartial and eternal principles will remain a far cry in a globalized world where the assumption of the rational nature of decision making has been proven wrong, but aren’t we all doomed if we stop trying?
Moral development in business
Moral development and education can be found in various contexts, yet at the time of this research there was no evidence that ideas, similar to those presented above, have been linked to SDP. However, as Fletcher discussed in his article Applying Sport Psychology in Business: A Narrative Commentary and Bibliography (2010) there is a, ‘close link between sport and another prominent performance domain, business’ (p. 140). Fletcher found many parallels between the two worlds: beyond the sense of team spirit, the author realized that mental patterns and domains such as organizational issues, stress, leadership, or consulting are as familiar to business managers as they are to athletes. Thus, the following discussion assesses two studies from the business world hypothesizing that managers and business majors around the world lack ethical training to prevent negative consequences of immoral behavior for the general public; as such it would also apply to the world of sport according to Fletcher.
In times of economic and financial crisis, the negative impact on society is often projected on business leader’s unethical decision making (Vogel, 1992). The first study is an empirical one conducted by Delaney and Sockell (1992) addressing the question if ethics training programs can make a difference. Though the article is rather old, the main argument has not lost any of its validity that, ‘media and public attention on the issue of ethical behavior in business dealings... have raised questions about whether American firms and business schools are properly preparing individuals to deal with work-place ethical dilemmas’ (p. 719). Recent scandals and their immoral fundamentals have not changed compared to the time when the study was conducted.
- Quote paper
- Ingo Steffgen (Author), 2013, A Sport for Development and Peace framework that facilitates moral development through liberal education and sport, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/300891