Playing together to be able to play–extending field-based inquiry from post conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina

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3 Citations (Scopus)


While qualitative research is increasingly examining sport practices in post-conflict areas, many studies have conducted their research by framing the object as cases of ‘sport for peace’ (or not) with exclusive focus on those people who have already gathered to play together. Here, the concept of ‘peace’ and the practice of playing together are presumably tied together, as the cause and the effect to be examined. This paper starts its argument by highlighting the methodological limitation that overlooks how playing sport together is enabled. Through field-based inquiry examining soccer practice in post-conflict Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, this paper explores extending the range of inquiry to include the refinement of the research question, to examine the reality of playing sport together, instead of presenting a case study framed in ‘sport for peace’. Throughout the field research, this study finds that rather than foregrounding a symbolic meaning of ‘peace’, players tactfully seek to ‘play together’ in order to be able to play, where the togetherness is maintained by their constant effort to not cause any unnecessary tension. This paper elaborates ‘distance management’ as a nuanced research question to propel future studies. It also suggests that conducting sport practice research can serve as a valuable resource to capture how people in the post-conflict context weave ‘social’ space and corporeality into their everyday lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-468
Number of pages16
JournalQualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 8


  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • distance management
  • Field-based inquiry
  • nuanced research question
  • ‘sport for peace’


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