Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Laura Misener


The research conducted for this dissertation involved a participatory action research (PAR) project with the Municipality of Powassan Recreation Committee. Framed with the literature pertaining to sport and recreation development, community development, and rural community studies, the project sought to explore the perceived significance of sport and recreation, to examine the processes of sport and recreation management, as well as to inform changes to current management and policy making practices within the rural community context. Further, this project sought to identify strengths and challenges of PAR as well as to explore the processes through which researchers can work with community stakeholders as agents of change within the context of (rural) community sport and recreation management.

Drawing from communitarian theories and participatory methodological approaches, the contributions of this research can be summarized in three themes. Firstly, this research contributes to scholarly understandings of the social processes and outcomes of sport and recreation management in rural community contexts. By identifying priorities of community organizers and exploring the ways that diverse community members understood their experiences in sport and recreation, this research provided insights which informed municipal management and policy making (in the municipality) as well as a scholarly understanding of sport and recreation management in the community. Secondly, this research provides an exploration of the ways that action can be involved in and through the research process. Drawing from the historical and philosophical traditions of PAR, a discussion of the ways in which action was conceptualized and facilitated in and through sport and recreation management, policy making, and research is provided. Finally, a reflective approach was used to examine the various ways that first person action research, or reflective methodological practice, was employed in order to shape the evolving research process. Through this account, I demonstrate the usefulness of reflective methodological approaches in navigating the often unarticulated role(s) of researchers as instruments of research.

Collectively, the research documented in this dissertation contributes to theoretical, empirical, and methodological literature in community in sport and recreation management. By foregrounding collective understandings of community, the nuances of rural community contexts, and the potential of community partnership, this research explored the metaphorical peripheries of community sport and recreation management and attempted to draw attention to the rich insights that can be derived from doing so.