Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

(Re)forming the Inside/Outside: On Place as a Governable Domain through Sports-Based Interventions

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Abstract:  This article draws attention to two sports-based interventions carried out as part of the Midnight Football initiative and the places where they are conducted in two suburban areas in Sweden. Rather than approaching geographic place as simply a background and a context for sport-based interventions, we put place in the spotlight, scrutinising the very formation of place and its productive role in governing social policy. In line with a Foucauldian approach, and based on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, the aim of the article is to explore how the specific localities where interventions take place are formed as governable domains. The analysis shows how place is constituted in association with sport sites, local youth outreach and recruiting coaches. These places are made distinct from the rest of the surrounding cities via material and symbolic borders, directing the movement of people within the urban geography. These differentiations underpin attributions of the areas in terms of otherness and exclusion from the rest of society, localising a variety of problematisations to the demarcated areas. Furthermore, the places are demarcated as being filled with danger, intertwined with narratives challenging such a discourse. In conclusion, the findings enable us not only to scrutinise how specific meanings are attributed to place and how place is formed, but also to explore the performative and governable potential of place.

Keywords:  football; geography; governmentality; place making; social exclusion; youth



© David Ekholm, Magnus Dahlstedt. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.