Educating communities for a sustainable future - do large-scale sporting events have a role?

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- This thesis explores the relationship between large-scale sporting events (LSSEs) and education for sustainable development (EfSD) from the perspective of the host communities in which they take place. Over the past decade there has been increasing acknowledgement by both the owners of LSSEs and their host communities that events of this nature offer meaningful opportunities to engage in practices linked to EfSD. This acknowledgement, however, has not been accompanied by any discernable interest by researchers. This exploratory study has sought to go some way towards redressing this situation and in so doing provide a platform upon which future research in this area can be built. Additionally, its findings are intended to be of value to communities who are bidding for, or hosting, LSSEs. A case study-based explorative research approach was employed in this enquiry utilising two LSSEs deemed by the researcher to represent 'best practice' examples of host-community EfSD via LSSEs-the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games (SOG) and the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games (MCG). The intent of examining these cases was to develop insights into the process of leveraging LSSEs for host-community EfSD more generally. This intent was reflected in the enquiry's research problem: How can the hosting of a large-scale sporting event act to progress its host community's efforts toward education for sustainable development? In order to construct a guiding conceptual framework through which this problem could be addressed, literature on stakeholder theory, EfSD, and sustainable development and LSSEs was reviewed. Both secondary and primary data sources were then used to explore the components of this framework, along with the relationships identified by it. Secondary data took the form of reports, technical manuals, newspaper articles, videos, as well as other relevant materials, while personal interviews (39 in total) of key informants associated with each event provided the study's primary data. The enquiry found the process of host-community EfSD in the context of the SOG and MCG to be dominated by state governments; to involve a diverse range of programs and initiatives; to be largely of an informal educational nature; and to have impacted organisations, groups and individuals from all sectors of the two communities concerned. The EfSD process was also found to have been influenced by a number of factors, with some serving to strengthen the process, while others acted as constraints upon it. Additionally, the study identified a number of host-community EfSD legacies resulting from both events, along with the potential for such legacies to extend also to non-hosting communities. The enquiry's findings were used to propose a revised conceptual framework that better reflected the EfSD process as it occurred in the context of the two case-study events. Additionally, these findings led to a number of observations and suggestions being made about the effective leveraging of LSSEs by their host communities for EfSD purposes. These included the importance of both acknowledging the pre-existing level of community engagement with the concept of sustainable development and collaborative relationships in the overall EfSD process. In conclusion, the study identified a number of matters that would benefit from future research, specifically: impediments to the effective operation of the EfSD process in LSSE host-community settings, along with mechanisms for overcoming these; the capacity possessed by different sectors of an LSSE's host community to contribute to the EfSD process; and approaches to ensuring, maximising and measuring LSSE host-community EfSD legacies.
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