• “The helping, the fixtures, the kits, the gear, the gum shields, the food, the snacks, the waiting, the rain, the car rides…”: Social Class, Parenting and Children’s Organised Leisure

      Wheeler, Sharon; Green, Ken; Edge Hill University; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-05-11)
      Class-related parenting cultures and ideologies have been of considerable interest to academics over the last two decades. Much of the research thus far has focused on exploring Annette Lareau’s conceptualisations of ‘natural growth’ and ‘concerted cultivation’ and the implications for outcomes in relation to education. The focus of the present article is organised activities, which are a central but as yet relatively under-researched feature of middle-class parenting. The findings are based upon 73 semi-structured interviews with parents and children from 48 middle-class families living in and around a small city in northern England. The article reveals that initiating and facilitating children’s organised activities is considered a central aspect of ‘good’ parenting in middle-class social networks. It is shown how this is a consequence of several developments within society over the past three decades or so, including the rising levels of maternal employment, the growing competitiveness of the labour market and the increasing concerns related to children’s health and safety. It is argued that these developments have heightened middle-class parents’ predisposition to not only be involved with and invest in their children’s leisure biographies, but to do so in a more deliberate, rigorous and rational manner.
    • Social class and the emergent organised sporting habits of primary-aged children

      Wheeler, Sharon; Green, Ken; Thurston, Miranda; Edge Hill University; University of Chester; Innland University Norway (Sage, 2017-05-15)
      This paper reports on the patterns of participation in organised sports of youngsters coming towards the end of primary school, with a view to identifying emergent sporting habits in relation to social class gradients. The data for the study were generated via 90 semi-structured interviews with parents and children from 62 families. The data revealed differences in organised activity participation (both at and beyond school) between an ‘under-class’ and combined middle-class groups of children, as well as within-class gradients among the middle-class sub-groups. There were, for example, substantial differences between the under-class group and the combined middle-class group in terms of both the average number of bouts of organised sport participation and the repertoire or variety of sports engaged with. In effect, the mid- and upper-middle-class children were already sporting and cultural omnivores by the final years of primary schooling. We conclude that while the primary school organised sporting ‘offer’ may be neither a sufficient nor even a necessary contribution to the emerging sporting habits of mid- and upper-middle-class children, for under-class children it is likely to be necessary even though it may still prove, in the longer run, insufficient.