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Conceptualising landscapes of learning in the United Kingdom’s volunteer football sector.

Koutrou, N. and Kohe, G., 2021. Conceptualising landscapes of learning in the United Kingdom’s volunteer football sector. Sport, Education and Society, 26 (9), 982-997.

Full text available as:

ANON (2020) Landscapes of volunteer learning in sport FINAL (1).pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2020.1850437


From grassroots to mega-event level, the sport sector has long-relied on volunteers to function effectively. While the nature of sport volunteering varies, scholars have identified that volunteerism is built around characteristics (e.g. altruism, civic participation, acquisition of social capital, personal and professional development) that draw individuals together and contribute to a sense of community. In providing sites for life-skills training, mentoring, coaching, and/or leadership, volunteer communities in sport are also informal and formal learning environments. Notwithstanding research examining learning opportunities within individual volunteer experiences, work remains on articulating the ideological, structural and experiential complexities of volunteering as pedagogical terrain. To illuminate some of these educational nuances, this paper interrogates the experiences of a cohort of regional football volunteers in the United Kingdom. Drawing on spatial theory, we utilise a holistic framework comprising thought, production and action space to understand volunteer communities and opportunities for learning therein. We draw data from questionnaires, and focus groups undertaken with volunteers working in one of the UK’s largest provinces. We contend that football volunteerism comprises a potentially rich context in which an array of learning opportunities exist that can be nurtured and enacted upon over volunteers’ life courses. Educational characteristics of volunteering, or the creation of effective learning communities in the sector are not, however, always guaranteed. Rather, individual and collective investments may be required by both volunteers and supporting organisations. Furthering recent criticisms of the wider sport sector, and beyond affording greater appreciation of volunteer learning, we advocate for a rethink of organisation’s ethical responsibilities and resourcing vis-à-vis educational duties of care and sustainability.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Football, Football Association, Kent, spatial theory, learning horizons
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:35557
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:26 May 2021 14:03
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 01:08


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