Sport and Peace-Building in Divided Societies: Playing with Enemies, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sport and Peace-Building in Divided Societies

Playing with Enemies, 1st Edition

By John Sugden, Alan Tomlinson


182 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Sport is a cultural institution that stands at the interface between political and civil society. In divided communities, sport has been an agent of separation, sectarian hatred and violence, but also a highly effective tool for conflict resolution, reconciliation and peace-building.

In this important study, John Sugden and Alan Tomlinson draw on their extensive international experience of working with divided communities to develop a methodological and theoretical model for peace-building in sport. The book showcases original case studies from three regions of the world in which sport has played a prominent role in social deconstruction and reconstruction: Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and South Africa. Combining a wealth of primary and secondary data, the authors chart the rise of the contemporary Sport for Development and Peace movement (SDP) and outline an important new practice-based framework for understanding, researching and working to achieve positive social change in the SDP sector.

This is essential reading for any student, researcher or practitioner with an interest in the sociology of sport, sport development, international development, peace studies or conflict resolution.


"Sport and Peace-Building in Divided Societies is a testament to the longevity and far-reaching capacity of Sugden in the SDP movement. With the use of storytelling and first-hand accounts, Sugden and Tomlinson have created an accessible text, which engages with the ongoing arguments and theoretical discussions most prominent within SDP. By choosing to provide solutions alongside their critiques, the authors have created a text on sport for peace that is valuable to practitioners, researchers and academics." – Catherine Houston, University of Toronto, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics

Table of Contents


1. The Question?

2. SDP in Never-Never Land: Sport and Peace-Building in Northern Ireland

3. SDP in the Promised Land: Sport and Peace-Building in Israel

4. SDP Over the Rainbow: Sport and Peace-Building in South Africa

5. Can Sport Save the World? SDP in Cloud Cuckoo Land

6. SDP Back Down to Earth: Epistemological Foundations of Critical Pragmatism

7. Critical Pro-Activism and the Ripple Effect

Appendix: Materials Underpinning the Football for Peace (F4P) Project

About the Authors

John Sugden is Professor of the Sociology of Sport at the University of Brighton, UK. He is well known for his work on the sociology of boxing; sport and peace-building in divided societies; his studies - with Alan Tomlinson - of the world governing body for football, FIFA; and for his investigative research into football’s underground economy. Currently, John is a leading member of the Sport and Leisure Cultures research network at Brighton, and Director of the University of Brighton’s flagship worldwide community relations project, Football4Peace

Alan Tomlinson is Professor of Leisure Studies, School of Humanities, at the University of Brighton, UK. He is a renowned scholar and researcher on the social history and sociology of sport, leisure and popular culture. Alan has researched the history and politics of FIFA since the mid-1980s, alongside studies on the political economy of the Olympics and the IOC. He is the author/editor of numerous books on sport, leisure and consumption, including Consumption, Identity and Style and FIFA: The Men, the Myths and the Money, and a long-term contributor to the soccer periodical When Saturday Comes

About the Series

Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SPORTS & RECREATION / Sociology of Sports