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Social inclusion through sports-based interventions ?

Kelly, L. (2011) 'Social inclusion through sports-based interventions ?', Critical social policy., 31 (1). pp. 126-150.


There is international enthusiasm for the idea that sport can contribute to ‘social inclusion’ strategies. Sport now features in various targeted youth initiatives, including ‘Positive Futures’: a ‘sport and activity based social inclusion programme’ currently operating in England and Wales. The processes through which these ‘sports-based interventions’ might promote ‘social inclusion’ require, however, further investigation. Drawing on interviews with operational staff, managers, partners and participants, the article critically analyses the concept of ‘sports-based social inclusion’ with reference to four main themes: ‘sport for all’, ‘social cohesion’, ‘a pathway to work’ and ‘giving voice’. It argues that, while programmes achieve varying degrees of ‘success’ in relation to these themes, their impact on exclusionary processes is inevitably limited. Moreover, sports-based interventions risk legitimating a reductive analysis of these complex processes, highlighting individual deficits and de-emphasizing structural inequalities.

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Record Created:05 Nov 2010 13:05
Last Modified:05 Dec 2012 12:11

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