Is there commonality to difference? topical life histories of sexually diverse volunteers in sport

Lahti, Saara (2023) Is there commonality to difference? topical life histories of sexually diverse volunteers in sport. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
lahti.saara_phd(17040277).pdf - Submitted Version

Download (2MB) | Preview


Sport volunteering can be a valued and meaningful way to engage in sport beyond participation. However, sport volunteers in the UK lack diversity (Sport England, 2016). Studies have examined recruitment, retention and motivation of sport volunteers on a general level and at single points in time. Yet, there has been lack of insight into the experiences and identities of LGBT+ volunteers in sport and the meaning of their volunteering over time. Understanding LGBT+ volunteers’ experiences can enhance visibility of a minority group to support ongoing efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in sport volunteering. Topical life history interviews (Plummer, 2001) of 16 sexually diverse sport volunteers were conducted to explore (1) what meanings LGBT+ volunteers in sport give to their volunteering experiences in the UK over time (2) how LGBT+ volunteers manage, construct and negotiate their identities over time and (3) how LGBT+ volunteers in sport influence inclusion within sport. The data collected from these interviews was analysed through the lens of constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006), and resulted in a model on understanding LGBT+ engagement in sport volunteering. The data suggests that the meanings participants denoted to their volunteer experiences fall into the categories of ‘becoming’, ‘belonging’ and ‘being’ – and that the meanings participants give to their volunteering experiences tend to be fluid as they may simultaneously fit within more than one category and/or shift between these categories over time. Through the lens of identity work (Watson, 2008; 2020) three volunteer personas were identified to understand how participants present their identities: the ‘advocate’, the ‘community-minded’ and the ‘sportsperson’. Participants, across all three volunteer personas, demonstrated an intention to influence the level of inclusion in sport (and in other areas of their lives) as an extension of their identity work within the sport volunteering setting. Implications for promoting inclusion and recruiting LGBT+ volunteers are provided, with an emphasis on developing recruitment messaging around volunteer personas and meanings of volunteering. The organisations that should be targeted and how they should be collaborated with are discussed. The actions identified aim to align volunteer roles and activities with the changing needs and aspirations of diverse volunteers.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: LGBT+, identity work, diversity work, lived experience, qualitative
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2023 08:05
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2023 08:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics