The Exclusionary Practices of Youth Sport

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

The Exclusionary Practices of Youth Sport


  • Bethan C. Kingsley Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Canada
  • Nancy Spencer-Cavaliere Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Canada


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Abstract:  Youth who live with lower incomes are known to experience social exclusion in a range of social settings, including sport. Despite efforts to reduce financial constraints to participation, increasing opportunities in these ways has not led to increased involvement. There is a need to move beyond a discussion about barriers and explore the quality of young people’s engagement within sport. The present study consequently sought to understand the sport involvement of young people living with lower incomes. Interpretive description informed the analysis of transcripts generated from interviews with ten youth (aged 13-18 years) and six parents. Three themes captured the ways income had a prominent influence on the sports involvement of young people. Sports settings generally required that young people acquire abilities from an early age and develop these concertedly over time. The material circumstances in which youth were brought up impacted the extent to which they could or wanted to participate in these ways. The final theme outlines the experiences of young people in sport when they possessed less cultural capital than others in the field. The findings of the study collectively highlight a number of interconnected exclusionary processes in sport and demonstrate the need to reimagine sport in ways that challenge the hegemonic discourses continuing to exclude a large number of young people.

Keywords:  ability; cultural capital; exclusion; low-income; sport; youth

Published:   25 June 2015


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v3i3.136


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