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Megan Chawansky - Otterbein University. Westerville, OH, US

Megan Chawansky Megan Chawansky

Professor | Otterbein University

Westerville, OH, UNITED STATES

An expert in the use of sport for social change.



Megan Chawansky Publication Megan Chawansky Publication







Dr. Megan Chawansky is currently an assistant professor of sport management. At Otterbein University, she teaches courses on global sports, sport marketing, sport facilities, sport psychology, and sport finance. Previously, she served as a lecturer and the Assistant Director of the Global Center for Sport Diplomacy at the University of Kentucky. She also worked at the University of Bath (UK) and the University of Brighton (UK), where she taught on the graduate program in sport for development.

Her research interests reside in the use of sport for social change. She has worked with a number of organizations in the ‘Sport for Development and Peace’ (SDP) sector, and her research and consultancy experiences in the area of SDP include work with partners and colleagues in South Africa and Cambodia (Skateistan), India (Naz Foundation), Zambia (Go Sisters), Kenya (Moving the Goalposts-Kilifi), Sri Lanka (Commonwealth Secretariat), and the Caribbean (multiple organizations). Megan grew up in northeast Ohio (Lorain and Avon Lake) and played college basketball at Northwestern University.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Sport in Social Change

Sports and Marginalized Communities

Sports for Development and Peace

Global Sport

Education (3)

The Ohio State University: Ph.D. 2008

The Ohio State University: M.A. 2002

Northwestern University: B.A. 1999

Selected Articles (6)

Towards sustainable programme design? An examination of CSR initiatives within a Zambian SfD NGO International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing

Holmes, M., Banda, D. & Chawansky, M.


Sport-for-development (SfD) programming in Zambia is at a crucial turning point since its inception in the late 1990s. Weak domestic relations with state government bodies have left the sector isolated and dependent on foreign aid and corporate sponsorship mainly through corporate social responsibility (CSR) schemes. This article considers the implications of the CSR funding landscape for one SfD non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Zambia.

16 semi-structured interviews with SfD practitioners and stakeholders were conducted to better understand how CSR funding impacts programme design, development and sustainability. Thematic analysis revealed three key themes: 1) positive partnerships; 2) ‘parachute’ partnerships; 3) challenges with partnerships. The implications of these findings are presented in a conclusion which stresses the need for a (Global) ‘South-centred CSR Agenda’ in SfD (Idemudia, 2011).

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The gendered experiences of women staff and volunteers in sport for development organizations Journal of Sport Management

Megan Chawansky


This study seeks to better understand broad management issues associated with the employment of female workers in one sport for development (SfD) project. Through interviews with the executive director and five female staff members of Skateistan—the skateboarding SfD project operating in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa—this study offers insights on female transmigrant workers who relocated to work for the project in Afghanistan, focusing particularly on how formal and informal management strategies are experienced by international female staff and volunteers. Extending the work of Black, Mendenhall, and Oddou with a poststructural feminist approach, we identify six key themes related to the experiences of female transmigrant workers moving into and during SfD assignments: (a) initial motivations, (b) organizational selection mechanisms, (c) management of risk, (d) work–life balance, (e) managing the self, and (f) negotiating postcolonial critiques of development work. In so doing, this paper recognizes women’s lived experiences as a valid and valuable form of knowledge that could be used to inform management approaches adopted by SfD organizations.

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The State of Play: Critical sociological insights into recent ‘Sport for Development and Peace’ research International Review for the Sociology of Sport

Darnell, S., Chawansky, M., Marchesseault, D., Holmes, M. & Hayhurst, L.


The maturation of the field of ‘Sport for Development and Peace’ (SDP) is reflected in the growing number of research publications on the topic. This article focuses on a recent review of English-language research publications on SDP from 2000–2014 conducted by Schulenkorf et al. (2016. Sport for development: an integrated literature review. Journal of Sport Management 30: 22–39). We attempt to extend the analysis of current SDP research offered by Schulenkorf et al. through an exploration of the sociological implications of their key findings. In particular, we offer critical sociological commentary on key insights regarding the conceptualization of SDP; the dominant theoretical perspectives used in SDP research; the methodology and dissemination of SDP research and the demographics of researchers and research teams. In so doing, we seek to encourage critical reflection and practical considerations for scholars interested in the critical sociological analysis of SDP.

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Be who you are and be proud: Brittney Griner, intersectional invisibility and digital possibilities for lesbian sporting celebrity Leisure Studies

Megan Chawansky


This article examines current professional basketball player, Brittney Griner, and the ways in which her personal and athletic lives are represented on social media. In particular, her visibility and posts on her public Instagram account allow for a consideration of the digital possibilities for social change by lesbian sporting celebrities. This analysis interrogates these possibilities through a close reading of several Instagram posts regarding Griner’s romantic relationship with fellow basketball star, Glory Johnson. This article ultimately argues that Griner’s Instagram profile helps challenge the intersectional invisibility of Black lesbian sporting celebrities and discusses the implications of this visibility for similarly positioned LGB youth.

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Studying the role of the family through the eyes of girls in an SfD programme in Delhi Sport in Society,

Chawansky, M. & Mitra, P.


This article elaborates on the significance of the ‘family factor’ in facilitating sport for development (SfD) opportunities by presenting findings related to a research project with an SfD project based in Delhi, India, which seeks to empower adolescent girls through sport. The findings add to the limited understanding of the role of the family in SfD opportunities; the paucity of studies which examine SfD initiatives in India and more recent studies of sport and physical culture in India. The girls of this study emerged from families who were largely supportive of the sporting opportunities and the empowerment promised through their SfD involvement. However, these families expressed concerns about issues of violence against girls and women in Delhi which impacted girls' opportunities to enact empowerment in public spaces and to access non-traditional gender roles. Furthermore, an additional understanding of the family emerged wherein the extended family of origin served as a foil to the empowered girls within this study. The findings offer more nuanced understanding of the effects of the family for SfD programming that seeks to empower girls.

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You’re juicy: autoethnography as evidence in sport for development and peace (SDP) research Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health

Megan Chawansky


Since gaining momentum in the early 2000s, critics and supporters of the sport for development and peace (SDP) movement have called for evidence to substantiate the claim that sport can deliver ‘social good’ for people and communities around the world. This paper aims to consider broad themes of epistemology and methodology in light of calls for evidence-based SDP research by presenting four autoethnographic vignettes from my work and research experiences within the SDP field. By turning attention to multiple readings of my embodied self in the SDP realm and in foregrounding the body as something that one can know with, about, and through, I highlight the complexities of SDP subjectivities. Moreover, my use of autoethnography raises complex questions about how and what personal accounts from ‘Northern’ practitioners contribute to debates around evidence, impact and the utility of SDP work.

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