• “[We’re on the right track, baby], we were born that way!” Exploring sports participation in Norway

      Green, Ken; Thurston, Miranda; Vaage, Odd; Roberts, Ken; University of Chester; Hedmark University College; Norsk Statistisk Sentralbyra (Taylor & Francis, 2013-02-25)
      Based on quantitative data from the Norwegian Statistisk Sentralbyrå (Statistics Norway) study of Mosjon, Friluftsliv og Kulturaktiviteter, this paper explores trends in Norwegians' participation in sports, with a focus on young people. Norway boasts particularly high levels of sports participation as well as sports club membership and young Norwegians are the quintessential sporting omnivores. Among other things, the Statistics Norway study reveals substantial increases in participation (among young people and females especially) during the period 1997–2007, a shift in the peak of participation to the late teenage years, a relatively high level of lifelong participants, a re-bound effect in the post-child rearing years and a growth in lifestyle sports. Young Norwegians grow up in a socio-economic context of relative equality between the sexes and high standards of living. An abundance of natural and artificial outdoor and indoor sporting facilities alongside a well-established voluntary sports club sector and an elementary school system that emphasizes physical exercise and recreation, as well as high levels of parental involvement, add to the favourable socio-economic conditions to create seemingly optimal circumstances for sports participation. All these reinforce the sporting and physical recreation cultures deeply embedded in Norwegian society and embodied by the very many middle-class parents in a country which, for the time being at least, remains relatively young in demographic terms. In terms of lessons to be learned for policy towards sports and physical education beyond Norway, there may be grounds for some optimism around parental involvement in children's sport as well as the potential appeal of lifestyle sports. That said, it is likely to be the greater socio-economic equalities in Scandinavian countries such as Norway that make them unrealistic benchmarks for sports participation elsewhere.
    • What happened to the legacy from London 2012? A sociological analysis of the processes involved in preparing for a grassroots sporting legacy from London 2012 outside of the host city

      Lovett, Emily L.; Bloyce, Daniel; Edge Hill University; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2017-02-01)
      Preparations for London 2012 included promises for a sporting legacy across Britain. APS data suggest that, despite a slight spike in 2012, we have not experienced the rise in participation promised. The importance of preparations for legacy were well documented but little research has examined these processes. We examine planning for sporting legacy within a non-Olympic city in England, Birmingham. 37 semi-structured interviews were conducted with people delivering sport in Birmingham to provide a figurational analysis of relationships involved. The change in government during the economic recession saw budget cuts and a reduction in sport development personnel. Whilst various organisations struggled financially, others wanted to link to legacy. This increase in groups involved led to confusion and the unintended outcome of ‘initiativitis’. In trying to leverage legacy, a strategic approach to managing potential opportunities with clear communication of opportunities is vital. A belief in inherent inspiration cannot be relied upon. Key words: London 2012, sport legacy, figurational sociology, Birmingham, initiativitis, school sports partnerships, policy, inherent inspiration, demonstration effect
    • When transport policy becomes health policy: A documentary analysis of active travel policy in England

      Bloyce, Daniel; White, Christopher; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018-09-17)
      There has been a succession of policy documents related to active travel published by the British government since the implementation of a National Cycle Network (NCN) in 1995. However, as the latest National Travel Survey (NTS) reveals, the number of journeys made by bike in the UK has remained steadfastly around only 2% (Department for Transport [DfT], 2018a). By using documentary analysis of the available official policy documents and statements, the aim of this paper is to make sense of the policies that have been published concerning active travel (AT) in England. This is done from a figurational sociological perspective. Three key themes emerge from the analysis: (1) the rhetorical, advisory level of the vast majority of the policies; (2) the reliance on a wide network of local authorities to implement AT policy; and (3) the focus placed on individuals to change their behaviour. Furthermore, the analysis reveals that despite a large number of policy publications from a range of government departments claiming to promote AT, little has actually changed in this time period in terms of a national agenda. Despite the successive policies, it seems there is little appetite on behalf of recent governments to make widespread infrastructural changes, where instead the focus has largely been on persuading the individual to seek more active modes of travel, increasingly for their own, individual ‘health’ gains.
    • Young people and lifelong participation in sport and physical activity: A sociological perspective on contemporary physical education programmes in England and Wales

      Green, Ken; Smith, Andy; Roberts, Ken (Taylor & Francis, 2005-01)
      This article discusses the key goal of physical education in preparing schoolchildren for lifelong participation in physical acitivity and which types of PE programmes and activities are more likely to achieve this aim.
    • Young people, sport and leisure: A sociological study of youth lifestyles

      Green, Ken; Lamb, Kevin L.; Thurston, Miranda; Smith, Andy (University of Liverpool (University of Chester)University of Chester, 2006-05)
      In Britain, as elsewhere, over the past two or three decades there has been growing concern over the extent to which sport and physical activity are becoming increasingly rare features of contemporary youth lifestyles. One corollary of this growing concern with youth lifestyles has been the widespread acceptance of a number of common sense assumptions about the nature of young people's sporting and leisure lives. Notwithstanding these concerns, Coalter (2004: 79) has noted recently that, at present, much of the existing research on young people, sport and leisure has consistently failed to explain adequately or provide 'any clear understanding of sport's (and physical activity's) place in participants' lifestyles'. The central objective of this sociological study, therefore, was to enhance our understanding of the place of sport and physical activity in the lives of a sample of 15-16-year-olds, and of the relationships between various aspects of their lives. More specifically, the thesis reports upon data generated by questionnaires completed by 1,010 15-16-year-olds who attended six secondary schools in the north-west of England and one secondary school in the north-east of Wales, as well as focus groups conducted with a sub-sample of 153 of these young people. The findings revealed that for many 15-16-year-olds, participation in sport and particularly 'lifestyle activities', was an integral aspect of both their school and leisure lives. In school physical education (PE) and extra-curricular PE, young people's participation - which was significantly related to sex and school attended - was largely dominated by competitive team-based sports that are typically gendered and stereotypical. The data also indicated that although there were no significant school- or age-related differences in participation in leisure-sport and physical activity overall, more males than females participated in sport and physical activity in their leisure time. Males were also the more frequent weekly participants and spent more time doing so than females. In addition, the data revealed that the leisure-sport and physical activity repertoires of 15-16-year-olds were characterized by involvement in more informally organized sports and highly-individualized recreational 'lifestyle activities', as well as a small number of team sports that were played competitively. It was also clear that participation in leisure-sport and physical activity was part of young people's quest for generating sociability and excitement in the company of friends and because it enabled them to do what they wanted, when they wanted and with whom they wanted. For many young people, however, and particularly the more frequent participants, playing sport and doing physical activity was just one component in their generally busy and wide-ranging leisure lives, which did not prevent them from engaging simultaneously in more sedentary activities (such as prolonged TV viewing and playing computer games) and commercially-oriented leisure activities, as well as consuming legal and illegal drugs. In this regard, it is argued that it is only possible to understand adequately where sport and physical activity fit into the multi-dimensional lives of 15-16-year-olds by examining those lives 'in the round', and by locating young people within the various networks of relationships to which they have belonged in the past, and which they continue to form in the present.