Joining with the conversation: research as a sustainable practice in the sport sciences

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Woods, Carl ORCID: 0000-0002-7129-8938, Araújo, Duarte ORCID: 0000-0001-7932-3192 and Davids, Keith ORCID: 0000-0003-1398-6123 (2022) Joining with the conversation: research as a sustainable practice in the sport sciences. Sports Medicine - Open, 8 (1). ISSN 2199-1170


Abstract: What would it mean to consider research in the sport sciences as a sustainable practice? Taking a step back, in such a context, what would sustainability even mean? The time is ripe to address such questions, and what we lay out here are our initial thoughts on this most contemporary of issues. We start by exploring what is meant by the term ‘sustainability’. Rather than following mainstream thinking—the harnessing of earthly resources commodified and exploited as ‘renewables’—we situate it in the sport sciences as a continuing response-ability to the experiences of others. This view is rooted in ‘commoning’—an intransitive verb in which people conjoin varied experiences through correspondence. What makes this sustainable, is its ongoing open-endedness; meaning, it carries on as people (co)respond to one another. Central to this idea is a perceptual system attuned to the ebbs and flows of what or who one is corresponding with. Though, the current modus operandi of research in the sport sciences is located, not on the skilled perception of the scientist corresponding with the coming-into-being of phenomena, but on an unsustainable model of recognition that views phenomena as ‘objects of analysis’, fixed and final in form, waiting to be known about by means of reduction, fragmentation and classification. For research in the sport sciences to become a sustainable practice, we propose a scholarship that prioritises direct observation and participation with what holds our attention, corresponding within its natural ecology of relations, embedding the phenomenon itself. This re-conceptualisation of science views research as a response-able scholarship grounded in conversation. Like inquiring about the well-being of loved ones, what sustains such a scholarship is curiosity, care and hope—a curiosity about which captivates us, a care that sees us respond to what we observe, and a hope of carrying the correspondence on, together.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1186/s40798-022-00493-0
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4207 Sports science and exercise
Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords sustainability, sport science, research practices, sustainable research
Citations in Scopus 6 - View on Scopus
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