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Check system status. Toggle navigation Menu. Name of resource. Problem URL. Describe the connection issue. SearchWorks Catalog Stanford Libraries. Inclusion and exclusion through youth sport. Responsibility edited by Symeon Dagkas and Kathleen Armour.

Imprint London ; New York : Routledge, Physical description xiv, p. Series Routledge studies in physical education and youth sport. Online Available online. Full view. Green Library.

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I Unknown. More options. Find it at other libraries via WorldCat Limited preview. Contributor Dagkas, Symeon. Armour, Kathleen M. Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index. Contents Preface Introduction Section 1. Understanding Exclusion 1. Ability as an exclusionary concept in youth sport, Peter Hay Queensland, Australia 7. The embodiment of religious culture and exclusionary practices in youth sport Birmingham, UK 9.

Moving Towards Inclusion You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer. In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript. Help us improve our products. Sign up to take part. Despite significant advances in recent years, gender inequalities remain apparent within the context of sport participation and engagement. One of the problems, however, when addressing gender issues in sport is the continued assumption by many sport practitioners that the experiences of women and men will always be different because of perceived physiological characteristics.

Adopting a focus based solely on perceived gendered differences often overlooks the importance of recognizing individual experience and the prevailing social influences that impact on participation such as age, class, race and ability. Therefore, it is suggested that, although considerations of gender remain important, they need to be interpreted alongside other interconnecting and influential at varying times and occasions social and physical factors.

It is argued that taking the body as a starting point opens up more possibilities to manoeuvre through the mine field that is gender and sport participation. The appeal of an embodied approach to the study of gender and sport is in its accommodation of a wider multidisciplinary lens. Particularly, by acknowledging the subjective, corporeal, lived experiences of sport engagement, an embodied approach offers a more flexible starting point to negotiate the theoretical and methodological challenges created by restrictive discourses of difference.


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Debates relating to the role of gender in sport participation continue to be contested. Although, more recently, there have been significant advances in the ways that women are able to take part in sports, it is still difficult to provide convincing arguments that women do have equal opportunities.

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Adopting a focus based on perceived differences often overlooks the importance of recognizing individual experience and the prevailing social influences that impact on participation. In the majority of studies of gender within the context of sport, the focus tends to be on the experiences of women. Historically, the disparity between men and women in terms of the opportunities to participate in sport is unquestioned and has been documented in detail Hargreaves, However, the inequitable treatment that women have experienced needs to be understood alongside the influence of other social discourses such as ability, age, class and race.

These and others can be seen as significant factors contributing to present patterns of participation and inclusion. The report explored current research within the field and highlighted evidence to suggest that, although there was enthusiasm among girls to take part in sports, many were still facing barriers because of a range of complex and competing external social factors. In particular, areas such as family life, friendship patterns and school sport were significant influences on how the girls could participate.

Therefore, it is suggested within this article that a way to unravel the complexities of gender within the context of sport and physical activity is to recognize the centrality of the body, so that the multiple social factors that influence and impact on how an individual is freely able or not to participate can be recognized and acted upon.

In doing so, it is suggested that, although considerations of gender remain important, they need to be considered alongside other interconnecting and influential at varying times and occasions social factors such as age, class, race, religion and dis ability. Within the context of sport, while the discursive structures operating on the body revealed by Foucault and many subsequent post-structuralist accounts Butler, ; Markula and Pringle, have been extensively debated, there does seem room for more discussion about embodied experience, in particular, the ways in which individuals create corporeal understandings of their own bodies and in turn develop understandings of their own physical identities as well as others.

The very fact that to engage in embodied research one needs to accommodate the physiological, the psychological, the sociological, and the temporal and spatial elements means that the researcher can accommodate a range of disciplinary perspectives. Akinleye suggests that embodiment moves meaning making beyond linear constructs, which ultimately helps us move from distinctions and separations of mind and body or time and space and allows us to fuse what have previously been considered separate realms and also move back and forth between ideas, experiences and thoughts.

Awareness of these broader discourses of, for example, the able body, gender and sexuality allows the researcher and practitioner to consider the implications that their embodied self has on their proposed activities as well as revealing the invariably limited ways in which the body can be expressed. In terms of an embodied approach, there is more potential to look beyond the limits. In doing so, embodied approaches might provide the starting to point to reveal such limits and develop ways to counter uncritical neo-liberal arguments about sport and sport capital that are often offered as positive and unproblematic especially in relation to the benefits of sport.

Taking an embodied or enfleshed Woodward, way of thinking helps us to accommodate the more nitty-gritty aspects of our everyday existence. Often this everyday existence is about negotiating and managing at an individual level as well as a social level the different experiences that are both positive and not so positive. As such things like pain, shame, pleasure, aggression, social status, poverty and so on have to be factored in to any of these considerations. The central foundation for neo-liberal arguments is generally based on the relationship between the benefits of sport and the economy.

This focus often overlooks or consciously ignores the embodied experience of the individual in its attempt to explore broader economic and political agendas. An embodied approach allows for consideration of the influence of these and other forms of knowledge structure but more in line with the effect they have on the individual experience or, in other words, the broader everyday reality of embodied existence. She critiques the lack of recognition of the northern geo-political location and along with it the failure to recognize many alternate ways of thinking or being, which derive from non-Western cultures.

However, recognition of this position, combined with the knowledge that there are other ways of being, provides an opportunity to analyse the material with a broader viewpoint, much in the same way that feminist research has taught us to constantly take into consideration the gendered dynamics of social interactions and identity formation Woodward, Therefore, I have attempted to remain aware of the limits of the Metropole, especially as the version of sport that prevails does have its roots firmly entrenched in Western thinking.

Nevertheless, it does not mean that the ideas developed are not relevant, as they seek to explore issues that have yet to be fully understood.

Increasing youth participation in sport

Exposing the constant conflicting interpretations of what sport should be and to whom provides a way of incorporating broader ideas, particularly so in the case of school sport and physical education, where participation is mandatory for young people, although the benefits or outcomes are not necessarily the same Wellard, However, the point I am making in this article is that sport participation is not solely based on the actual physical ability to perform movements related to the specific sporting event.

Bodily performance provides a means of demonstrating other normative social requirements that relate to the prevalent codes of gender and sexual identity, both inside and outside the sporting arena. In this case, body practices present maleness as a performance that is understood in terms of being diametrically opposite to femininity Butler, ; Segal, The combination of a socially formulated construction of normative masculinity as superior to femininity and the practice of sport as a male social space creates the false need for more obvious outward performances by those who wish to participate.

Consequently, displays of the body act as a primary means through which an expected sporting masculine identity can be established and maintained. Although I am aware of the conflicting tensions that emerge through the theoretical trajectories of these concepts Pringle, , prioritizing the body allows for consideration of how these knowledge systems and relationships of power impact on the individual body.

Consequently, it is the lack of recognition of the embodied aspects of sport participation and embodied experience that is a telling gap within much of the sport literature and especially many subsequent critiques of hegemonic masculinity. However, it is important to make it clear that expected sporting masculinity is not only based on the appearance of the body such as the possession of a muscular build or, indeed, the biological sex category of male.

Within the context of sport, expected masculinity is expressed through bodily performances that adhere to traditional formulations of hegemonic masculinity, but embrace the values and ideals of sporting performance. Thus, outward displays of competitiveness, aggression, strength and athleticism are prioritized.

Consequently, the Muscular Christianity that Hargreaves describes as a significant element of contemporary sporting practice draws upon a particular version of an assertive, physical and heteronormative masculine body. Within the context of sport, it is the performance of the body that is expected, not necessarily the social category such as gender or age. Although these play an important role, it is the bodily performance that provides the central focus. Being successful in sport requires specific knowledge about the body that, in turn, requires specific body performances.

These replicate the performative aspects of gender within wider society, as described by Connell and Butler , but here the bodily performances are emphasized. However, these expectations are at the same time regulated by broader social constructions of gender and essentialist understanding of difference through mechanisms such as separate spaces to play for example, in tennis there is the ATP for men and the WTA for women.

In this way, it could be argued that a disabled person in a wheelchair could still perform expected sporting masculinity within the context of, for example, wheelchair basketball and, in doing so, reinforces the discriminatory gendered practices found within able-bodied sports. Indeed, here the notion of ability is equally important as it highlights the need for it to be read alongside gender to provide a fuller understanding of the way in which established codes of an able body and normative gender reinforce discourses of normalcy Peers, For instance, the tennis player Serena Williams may present outward signs of aggression and expected sporting behaviour on court, although, at the same time she presents accepted social signs of traditional femininity by wearing dresses and make-up.

This is particularly the case outside of professional sport, where displays of expected sporting masculinity become even more problematic for women Caudwell, ; Drury, as well as other disadvantaged groups. However, it has also been apparent that a definitive explanation could not be offered by the men, and in many cases there appeared to be a slippage in the use of the term.

Indeed, the themes that recurred in their descriptions highlighted interplay between formulations of working-class sensibilities, heterosexuality and evidence of hard work and effort. The use of the body was central in the presentation of this version of masculinity. In this particular case, these men found it difficult to accept the role of dance within their training. These were in opposition to the movements found in dance and their understanding of it. Dance was equated with non-sporting movements that were simultaneously associated with the feminine, considered non-working class and required a different approach to the body, both physically and emotionally.

However, even though there was a general sense of an authentic version of masculinity among nearly all the men I interviewed, their interpretations did not hold up to theoretical unpacking or scrutiny.

As such, alternative arguments were considered less valid. These simplistic formulations not only consolidate the belief that there is an authentic version of masculinity that creates unnecessary distinctions between groups of men but also continues to position women as occupying a separate gender binary. It is because of the continued presence of a general perception of real masculinity as a basis for identity formation, that hegemonic masculinity Connell, as a theoretical concept remains relevant. It still has value in that it can be read as a way of explaining how particular sections of society remain subordinate and in that the claims made for authenticity do not destabilize the broader distributions of power, but rather offer useful justifications or appeals to less material forms of self-worth.

As I mentioned above, the findings from our report to the WHO indicated that the majority of girls enjoy taking part in sport and physical activity or would like to, given the right circumstances. In order to understand when, how and why they found it enjoyable requires a greater understanding of individual experience so that any contributing factors that may have made it less enjoyable or not worth engaging in can be understood. Consequently, focussing initially on the body and embodied experiences provides an opportunity to consider more effectively the complex processes through which engagement and continued participation occur.

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Although the discursive structures operating on the body revealed by Foucauldian and many post-structuralist accounts for example, Butler, ; Markula and Pringle, have been extensively debated, there does seem room for more discussion about embodied experience Harre, ; Woodward, ; Wellard, In particular, the ways in which individuals create corporeal understandings of their own bodies and in turn develop understandings of their own physical identities as well as others. At the same time, it is acknowledged that there has been a growing interest in the meaning and experience of movement within the context of physical education, which could be described as a phenomenology of movement Smith, However, much of the focus here is to address the perceived lack of understanding about the qualities and characteristics of movement among physical education practitioners Brown and Payne, However, it is equally important to incorporate other theoretical positions that acknowledge the role of the body in shaping external social practices.

As such, I have found the concept of body-reflexive practices Connell to be useful within this context as it enables the application of a social constructionist approach that incorporates the physical body within these social processes. Obviously, there are discourses that seek to explain social understandings of areas such as bodily health and sickness, but all too often they do not take into account the individual, corporeal experience of the body. Often there is a fear that this will involve a movement towards biological essentialism, but this need not be the case. I have described elsewhere Wellard, how my own enjoyment of sporting and physical activities has often been compromised by the requirements to manage and negotiate my body particularly in relation to performances of hegemonic masculinity in socially expected ways.