International Sports Studies (ISS)

ISSN: 1443-0770

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International Sports Studies. Physical Education and Sport in Indonesia – Perspectives from 2020


John Saunders

International Sports Studies. Physical Education and Sport in Indonesia – Perspectives from 2020 42 No. 3 (2020)     pp: 1-3     2020-12-11

Stichworte/keywords: Editorial

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Saunders, J. (2020). Editorial. International Sports Studies. Physical Education and Sport in Indonesia – Perspectives from 2020, 42 (3), 1-3. doi:10.30819/iss.42-e.01
doi = {10.30819/iss.42-e.01},
url = {},
year = 2020,
publisher = {Logos Verlag Berlin},
volume = {42},
number = {3},
pages = {1-3},
author = {John Saunders},
title = {Editorial},
journal = {International Sports Studies. Physical Education and Sport in Indonesia – Perspectives from 2020}

A mere two years ago International Sports Studies was celebrating its fortieth anniversary. At that time, at the beginning of 2018, your editor was able to reflect on the journey of our professional association – the International Society for Comparative Physical Education and Sport (ISCPES). It started with a small, cohesive, and optimistic group of physical education scholars from Europe and North America interested in working across boundaries and exploring new international horizons. The group that met in Borovets in 2017 on the eve of the society’s fortieth anniversary, represented a wider range of origins. They were also more circumspect, tempered by their experience in what had become, four decades later, a very much more complex competitive and fragmented professional environment. Such a comparison seems almost to have reflected a common journey, from the hope and optimism of youth to entry into the challenges and responsibilities of mid adulthood. Yet from the perspective of contemporary history, these last four decades seem generally to be viewed as having been a time of unbroken human progress. Certainly, this is a defensible view when we use technological and economic progress as the criterion. The nation of Indonesia provides an excellent example of progress by these measures. The world’s 10th largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, and a member of the G-20. Furthermore, Indonesia has made enormous gains in poverty reduction, cutting the poverty rate by more than half since 1999, to 9.78% in 2020. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Indonesia was able to maintain a consistent economic growth, recently qualifying the country to reach upper middle-income status. The World Bank ( Indeed, when we look at the economic growth charts of the world over the last century, without exception they resemble a J curve with growth over the last half century being particularly rapid. But, from time to time, we need to be reminded that human existence is rather like a coin. Looking at the top side provides one picture but then, when we turn the coin over, a totally different view presents itself. From time to time, pictures find their way to our television screens that remind us that real challenges of poverty are still faced by many today. Similarly, though we have talked about seventyfive years of peace, the other side of the coin reveals that around the globe armed conflict has continued remorselessly since the official ending of World War II in September 2nd 1945. A visit to Wikipedia and its list of ongoing conflicts in the world will inform the casual reader, that in the current or past calendar year there have been over 10,000 deaths related to four major wars – in Afghanistan, the Yemen, Syria and Mexico. In addition, eleven wars, eighteen ‘minor conflicts’ and fifteen ‘skirmishes’ have added to death and misery for many around the world. I make these points in case those of us who are fortunate enough to live in relatively stable, safe and prosperous environments, might be tempted to become complacent and forget how much always needs to be done to increase the welfare of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Humankind’s end of decade report needs to remind us that, if our progress has generally been steady, there remains area where we still need to improve. Further we need to remember that wealth and material prosperity are not the sole criteria for human well-being and happiness. Quality of life needs to be measured by much more than Gross Domestic Product alone. Such thoughts now seem to be suddenly highlighted, as we move into another new decade. For virtually worldwide, it seems to as if the coin has suddenly been flipped. In 2018 we were looking forward with different expectations to those that we now have since the start of 2020. At a time when the world has never been more interconnected, we have been forcibly reminded that with that connectedness comes a level of risk. There is a belief by some, that interconnectedness provides some sort of protection against war and conflict and that trade relationships provide a rationale for peaceful cooperation between the peoples of the world. However, it is that very interconnectedness that today leaves us at greater risk to the ravages of the latest pandemic to strike the world. Countries that have managed the CoVid19 virus most successfully, have been those like New Zealand that have isolated themselves from others and restricted movements and interactions both across and within borders. Consequently, people in many different settings find themselves in lockdown and working from home. This sudden restriction on interactions and movement, has provided a unique opportunity for reflection by many. Stepping back from the frantic pace of twenty first century lifestyle, though it has inevitably caused much concern economically for many, has given others a chance to rediscover simpler pleasures of previous ages. Pleasures such as the unhurried company of family and friends and the chance to replace crowded commuting with leisurely walks around the local neighbourhood. So, it has been that a number of voices have been pointing to this as a unique opportunity to re-set our careers and our lifestyles. With this comes a chance to re-examine core values and in particular question some of the drivers behind the endlessly busy and often frentic approach to life that characterises our modern fast changing world, with its ceaseless demand for us all to ‘keep up’ and ‘get ahead’. It is then in a spirit of reset that I am pleased to introduce International Sports Studies’ first special supplement. We take very seriously our mission of connecting physical education and sport professionals around the world. It has made us very conscious of the dangers of adopting a view on the world that is centred in the familiar and our own back yards. Yet we all tend to slip into a view of life that seems to be driven and reinforced by the big media and the loudest voices in an interconnected world. Individuals chasing the dream of celebrity are easily recognisable from New Delhi to Anchorage or from Nairobi to Sapporo. We seem forced to listen to them and their ideas even when we wish to disassociate from them. In sport too it seems that in all corners of the world, the superstars of football Messi, Ronaldo, Pogba, Bale are known wherever the game is played. News and influence too often seem to flow from the places where these same celebrities of screen and sporting fields are based. It is the streets and recreation areas of Hollywood, Madrid and Turin, all comparatively restricted areas of the globe, which are continuously brought to us all by the ubiquitous screens. Some of the latest figures from the ITU, the Telecommunication Development Sector a specialised United Nations agency, have estimated that at the end of 2019, 53.6 per cent of the global population, or 4.1 billion people, were using the Internet (ITU, 2020). It is a figure that continues to increase steadily as does the stretch of its influence. The motivation behind this supplement focusing on studies in physical education and sport within Indonesia, can be found in the origins of comparative physical education and sport study. We can all learn by comparison with others and their approaches to both similar and unique problems and challenges. It does not however always make sense to limit ourselves to matching our situations with others for the sole purpose of making scholarly comparisons. Often it makes more sense simply to visit colleagues in another setting and examine in some depth their concerns and practices. Such studies are called area studies and they involve illuminating what is occurring in different settings in order to increase our own understanding and awareness. Indonesia provides a special and important starting point for just such a study. Located off the coast of mainland Southeast Asia in the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is an archipelago that lies across the Equator and spans a distance equivalent to one-eighth of the Earth’s circumference. It is the world’s fourth largest country in terms of population (Legge, 2020). It is a nation that appears modest in its demeanour and that of its people yet has much to offer the rest of us, especially in terms of our common professional interest. The purpose of volume 42e is to offer an opportunity for our colleagues in Indonesia to speak to the global community and for the global community to learn a little more about the work of their colleagues in Indonesia. It is the first of what is intended to be a series within the tradition of comparative studies. It has been a great pleasure and privilege to work with a special editorial team from Indonesia in this project. Their details are briefly provided below. I commend to you the work of this representative group of physical education and sports scholars. I invite you to join us in lifting our heads above our own parapets and resetting our own perspectives by reaching out and listening to a wider circle of colleagues from around the world. We may not be able to travel to meet each other at this time but we can still interact and share, as our responsibility as academics and professionals requires us to do. John Saunders Brisbane, November 2020 References ITU (2020) Statistics. Accessed from Legge, J. D. (2020) Indonesia. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed from
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