Taylor, Bill; Piper, Heather; Garratt, Dean (Taylor & Francis, 2014-03-31)
Recent concern surrounding sports coaches’ interaction with young people has reflected a fundamental change in the way coaches and others regard the role of sports. In this paper, we consider the identification and definition of the contemporary sports coach (whether acting in a professional or volunteer capacity) as, in Foucault’s term, a ‘dangerous individual’. We suggest that the mainstream discourse of child protection and safeguarding, variously interpreted and applied, has contributed to a culture of fear in sports coaching practice. Drawing on data from a recently completed Economic and Social Research Council-funded research project, we argue that contradictions in policy and practice, which serve to privilege a particular discourse, have cast the coach as both predator and protector of young sports performers. This has undermined the role of the coach, led to intergenerational fear, created doubt about coaches’ intentions and promoted their adoption of defensive and protective practices. Utilising the concept of governmentality, we argue that, as a consequence, fundamental trust-based relationships, necessary in healthy athlete−coach engagement, have been displaced by a discourse embodied in sterile delivery and procedure governed by regulation and suspicion.
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.
Piper, Heather; Garratt, Dean (Sociological Research Online, 2013)
This articles discusses the London 2012 legacy claim relating to increased activity levels and sports participation. A range of factors which appear to militate against its achievement are discussed. Drawing on data from a recent ESRC-funded research project, the authors demonstrate how this has resulted in a culture of fear and corrosive mistrust, which can only reduce grassroots willingness to take up sports, and the effectiveness and commitment of the coaches required to support it.
Garratt, Dean; Piper, Heather; Taylor, Bill (Taylor & Francis, 2012)
Focusing on swimming, this article offers a genealogical account of safeguarding in sport. Drawing specifically on Foucault's work, it examines the ‘politics of touch’ in relation to the social and historical formation of child protection policy in sports coaching.
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