Publication Details

Hayhurst, L. M C., Giles, A. R. & Wright, J. (2016). Biopedagogies and Indigenous knowledge: examining sport for development and peace for urban Indigenous young women in Canada and Australia. Sport, Education and Society, 21 (4), 549-569.


This paper uses transnational postcolonial feminist participatory action research (TPFPAR) to examine two sport for development and peace (SDP) initiatives that focus on Indigenous young women residing in urban areas, one in Vancouver, Canada, and one in Perth, Australia. We examine how SDP programs that target urban Indigenous young women and girls reproduce the hegemony of neoliberalism by deploying biopedagogies of neoliberalism to 'teach' Indigenous young women certain education and employment skills that are deemed necessary to participate in competitive capitalism. We found that activities in both programs were designed to equip the Indigenous girls and young women with individual attributes that would enhance their chances of future success in arenas valued by neoliberal capitalism: Eurocentric employment, post-secondary education and healthy active living. These forms of 'success' fall within neoliberal logic, where the focus is on the individual being able to provide for oneself. However, the girls and young women we interviewed argued that their participation in the SDP programs would help them change racist and sexist stereotypes about their communities and thereby challenged negative stereotypes. Thus, it is possible that these programs, despite their predominant use of neoliberal logic and biopedagogies, may help to prepare the participants to more successfully negotiate Eurocentric institutions, and through this assist them participants in contributing to social change. Nevertheless, based on our findings, we argue that SDP programs led by Indigenous peoples that are fundamentally shaped by Indigenous voices, epistemologies, concerns and standpoints would provide better opportunities to shake SDP's current biopedagogical foundation. We conclude by suggesting that a more radical approach to SDP, one that fosters Indigenous self-determination and attempts to disrupt dominant relations of power, could have difficulty in attracting the sort of corporate donors who currently play such important roles in the current SDP landscape.



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