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The social, cultural, and historical complexities that shape and constrain (gendered) space in an SDP organisation in Colombia

Recent research on the role of ‘safe space’ within Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) shows that the social inclusion of young women in traditionally male sporting spaces may shift who can comfortably access and shape public spaces. Framing safe space as a social construction and a dynamic process, and drawing from six months of ethnographic research conducted in two volatile neighbourhoods with a Colombian SDP organisation, this paper will explore the social, cultural and historical complexities that shape and constrain safe space. It will argue that while the SDP organisation’s ability to adapt to change and resign control makes it accessible to the local community, the positioning of both the organisation and participants simultaneously permits the continuation of gendered space. This data is then analysed through Spaaij and Schulenkorf’s multi-dimensional interpretation of safe space. In conclusion, further research about the physical and psycho-social barriers that constrain females from participating in SDP programming is suggested.