Young People, Sport and Leisure: A Study of the Sporting and Leisure Biographies of 15-16-Year-olds in North-West England and North-East Wales

Smith, Andy (2010) Young People, Sport and Leisure: A Study of the Sporting and Leisure Biographies of 15-16-Year-olds in North-West England and North-East Wales. British Sociological Association Conference, 7-9 April 2010, Glasgow.

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Abstract

This paper draws on data from a broader study, the central objective of which was to explore the place of sport and physical activity in the lives of 1,010 young people in north-west England and north-east Wales. More particularly, the paper reports the findings of 24 focus groups conducted with 153 15-16-year-olds and examines: (i) young people’s participation in leisure-sport; (ii) the leisure behaviours and sporting biographies of young people in the context of wider social processes; and (iii) the extent to which participation in leisure and sport contribute to existing social divisions between the sexes and social classes. The findings revealed that for many young people participation in sport and physical activity was an integral aspect of their lives but, as with other leisure behaviours, this was strongly related to, among other things, gender and social class. It was also clear that, particularly for the more frequent participants, playing sport was just one component in their generally busy and wide-ranging leisure lives that did not prevent them from engaging simultaneously in commercially-oriented leisure activities and consuming legal and illegal drugs that impact negatively on their health. In this regard, it is argued that it is only possible to understand adequately where sport and physical activity fit into the multi-dimensional lives of 15-16-year-olds by examining those lives ‘in the round’, and by locating young people within the increasingly complex and dynamic relational networks to which they have belonged in the past, and which they continue to form in the present.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Sports Science
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2012 14:13
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/4727

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