Striving towards inclusion ‘utopia’: The implementation of a disability sport inclusion programme in a sports development unit in Flintshire, Wales
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AbstractDuring the course of the past few decades there has been an increasing shift towards the protection of the rights of disabled people within UK policy (Barnes & Mercer, 1998; Thomas & Smith, 2009). Houlihan and Lindsey (2013) highlighted how there have been significant developments in British sport policy since 1990, and a wealth of literature which has explored sport policy and development (Houlihan & White, 2002; Bloyce & Smith, 2010; Bergsgard et al, 2007; Houlihan, 1991; 1997; 2005; 2012; Houlihan & Green, 2011; Houlihan & Lindsey, 2013). However, there does not seem to be the equivalent level of academic interest within disability sport policy. Thomas and Smith (2009) and Smith and Haycock (2011) outlined that whilst disability sport exists within policy; policy and political interest remains marginal and the practical responsibility for the coordination and development of disability sport opportunities will remain with disability sport organisations and be ‘kept at arm’s length from direct government involvement’ (Smith & Haycock, 2011, p. 98). In this context, this thesis examines the policy implementation process of a disability sport inclusion programme from a figurational sociological perspective, in a local authority sports development unit in Flintshire, Wales. The thesis was based on semistructured interviews with Disability Sport Wales’ Partnership Manager and Sport Flintshire’s Manager, and focus groups with ten Sports Development Officers from Sport Flintshire. It was found that there had been a shift towards inclusion being the group ‘habitus’ over a period of time, possibly due to the way in which the development team was managed and led. Whilst evident that policy implementation is a complex, multi-level ‘game’, ‘insport’, a Welsh disability sport inclusion programme was perceived to be a key tool which could potentially support the lengthening chains of interdependence of the disability sport figuration, and help local authorities strive towards inclusion ‘utopia’. However, it was recommended that further research should be undertaken at a later stage of the ‘insport’ development programme in order to gain greater sociological understanding of the policy implementation process.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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