Volunteers’ Sense of (Dis)Connection at a Sport Event

Steven Owen, Donna Chambers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper explores volunteers’ sense of (dis)connection and belonging at a major peripatetic sport event. Utilizing qualitative in-depth interviews with 31 volunteers at the Tall Ships race held in Sunderland in 2018, we sought to understand their lived experiences of this event 18 months after it was held. We argue that the Turnerian concepts of liminality and communitas, can be used to comprehend these lived experiences but require more critical problematization in their application. Our contention is that volunteers demonstrate intricate (dis)connections with a range of people, with place, and with the event itself and thus communitas should be conceptualized as more complex and paradoxical when applied within the context of liminal event spaces. We further suggest that volunteers’ sense of belonging to place influences how they experience liminal event spaces at least in the medium term. Space and place are therefore intimately connected in the lived experiences of volunteers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-122
Number of pages18
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date5 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes


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