Garratt, Dean; Piper, Heather(Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2016-07-12)
This article examines the cinematic portrayal of touching and its politics in sports coaching, exploring how social interactions between coach and athlete are symbolically represented. The analysis focuses primarily on a well-known British-produced film, Bend it like Beckham (2002), in which scenes exhibit different forms of touching. The construction of intimate coach-athlete relationships captured through a series of filmed encounters is analysed through a social semiotic frame. This requires judgements about the authority, ‘reality-status’, and possibility of meaning arising from such representational practices. Attention is drawn to different moments of intimacy and/or sexual tension between the lead coach and central female characters, both on and off the pitch. Through a series of detailed interpretations, we show how the complexities involved in assigning intentionality in cinematic contexts serves both to assert and displace meaning. This further problematizes moral aspects of relations between coaches and athletes in tactile encounters, and especially so within the context of risk-averse safeguarding policies in sports coaching, a context characterised by increased prescription, proscription and disciplinary intervention during the years since the film was released.
This paper reflects on and offers a critical analysis of the relationship between youth sport and citizenship development, in practice and in the UK policy context of sports coaching and physical education. While deploying data and insights from a recently completed research project in England, which identified substantial tensions in intergenerational relationships in sport and coaching, the argument and analysis also invokes wider international concerns and more generally applicable implications for policy and practice. Drawing heuristically upon the philosophy of Dewey (2007 ), it is recognised that the concept of citizenship as a form of social practice should seek to encourage the development of complementary traits and dispositions in young people. To develop socially and educationally thus entails engagement in meaningful social and cultural activity, of which one potentially significant component is participation in youth sport, both within and outside formal education. However, it is argued that any confident assumption that sporting and coaching contexts will necessarily foster positive traits and dispositions in young people should be considered dubious and misplaced. Deploying a Lacanian (1981) perspective to interpret our data, we contend that ‘liaisons’ and interactions between coaches and young people are often treated suspiciously, and regarded as potentially ‘dangerous’.
This article presents a critical account of the relation and unlikely trinity of philosophy, qualitative methodology and sports coaching research, in order to challenge assumptions about the nature of qualitative data analysis. A more radical departure and critique from a philosophical-hermeneutic perspective is encouraged. The key argument presented is that qualitative data analysis should have less to do with ‘method’ and more with philosophy, where ‘practical reasoning’ forges a dialectical relation between the intellectual and practical in the analytical process. This argument is illustrated with reference to published empirical work in the field of sports coaching research.
This article discusses recently completed research on ‘no touch’ sports coaching, by placing it in a broader social context which problematises the way child abuse and child protection (or safeguarding) are conceived and discussed in terms of policy and practice. It also provides a brief indicative summary of the research findings and offers a discussion of moral panic, risk society and worst case thinking, before drawing on Foucault's work on governmentality to offer an explanation of how the current situation arose.
This article discusses a UK based ESRC-funded research project which developed and deployed a case-study approach to issues of touch between children and professionals in schools and childcare, focusing on touch in sports coaching and its distinctive contextual and institutional characteristics.
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