Youth, Sport and the Social Inclusion Agenda

Tait, Gordon (2000) Youth, Sport and the Social Inclusion Agenda. Occasional Paper. Loughborough University, England.

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The purpose of this paper is to assess aspects of the British Government's attempts to use sporting participation as a vehicle to re-integrate socially disadvantaged, excluded and 'at-risk' youth into mainstream society. A number of organisations, policy-makers, commentators, and practitioners with a stake in the 'sport and social inclusion agenda' were interviewed. General agreement was found on a number of points: that the field was overly crowded with policies, programmes and initiatives; that the field worked in a 'bottom-up' way, with the most significant factor determining success being effective local workers with good networks and cultural access; that the dichotomising rhetoric of inclusion/exclusion was counter-productive; that the notion of the 'at-risk youth' was problematic and unhelpful; and that they all now dealt with a marketplace, where 'clients' had to be enrolled in their own reformation. There was also disagreement on a number of points: that policy acts as a relatively accurate template for practice, as opposed to the argument that it was simply regarded as a cluster of suggestions for practice; that policy was exceptionally piecemeal in its formulation and application, as opposed to regarding policy as necessarily targeted and dispersed; and that the inclusion agenda was largely politically driven and transitory, as opposed to the optimistic view that it had become ingrained in local practice. Finally, the paper examines some issues that are the most likely points of contribution by researchers in the area: that more research needs to be done on the processes of identity formation associated with participation in sport; that more effective programme evaluation needs to be done for such forms of governmental intervention to work properly; and that the relationship between different kinds of physical activity and social and personal change needs to be more thoroughly theorised.

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ID Code: 28939
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Keywords: Youth, Sport, Social Inclusion
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Social Policy (160512)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2000 Please consult the author.
Deposited On: 30 Nov 2009 22:59
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 14:12

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