Neoliberalism in Action? Capturing the Complexities of Sport and Physical Activity Careers

Palmer, V., Tulle, E. and Bowness, J. (2015) Neoliberalism in Action? Capturing the Complexities of Sport and Physical Activity Careers. BSA Annual Conference 2015, Glasgow, UK, 15-17 April 2015.

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Sport and physical activity (PA) have become synonymous with the promotion of health. In the context of health promotion a strong emphasis is placed on individual motivation as the driver for participating in sport or PA. However, locating the responsibility to be active with the individual ignores social and cultural barriers and overlooks deeply rooted phenomenological processes (such as feelings of not belonging, not being 'sporty' or not recognising oneself as physically adept). Expanding on the interactionist concept of career (Becker, 1963) and the current body of work that examines (professional) sporting careers, we will present a synthesis of how sport and PA careers emerge and can be understood throughout the lifecourse. Informed by phenomenology, Bourdieusian concepts and an alternative understanding of time (as not strictly objective), our presentation will map outa sociology of sport and PA careers which captures the seriousness and earnestness of engaging in non-professional sport and PA. Drawing on empirical insights from multiple projects, we suggest that sport and PA careers are brought into existence in morecomplex ways than interactionist theorising of careers allow for. They are not linear but are fragile and messy, shaped by local cultures such as the family or sub-cultures. Crucially, our work affirms the centrality of the body in the development of sport and PA careers. Ultimately this synthesis has the potential to capture sport and PA careers more comprehensively and to contribute to critiques of neoliberal governmentality.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bowness, Dr James and Palmer, Dr Victoria
Authors: Palmer, V., Tulle, E., and Bowness, J.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division

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