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 argues for a more nuanced perspective on learning that takes account of the real and situated contexts of student experience. It is presented against a backdrop of the agenda to widen participation in higher education (HE) in the UK, which has led to a rise in students from non-traditional backgrounds entering into HE. Responding to this, an argument is made in favour of widening ‘capability’ in learning, to produce a more socially just pedagogy. Drawing on examples of the student learning experience a series of reflections is produced from an undergraduate programme of education studies.
This article examines the political and historical antecedents of the absent presence of ‘race’ in successive policies for citizenship education in contemporary Britain.
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