The Impact of Austerity on Poverty and Sport Participation: Mind the Knowledge Gap

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Abstract

This paper will try to address the question why, to this date, empirically we still know relatively little about the impact of austerity policies in relation to sport (non-)participation of people living in poverty. It is reasonable to assume that austerity measures spanning over many life and policy domains, such as, housing, energy costs, transport, employment, healthcare, social welfare, childcare, education, pension, public services, sport provisions etc., might have had an impact on the leisure participation opportunities and outcomes of people in poverty (Collins & Haudenhuyse 2015). However, such assumptions remain under-researched. I will put forward the following potential reasons for the current knowledge gap: (i) the conceptual broadening and hollowing out of ‘poverty; (ii) the failure to situate sport participation within wider life and policy domains (iii) the difficulty to measure organized sport participation of people living in poverty through existing sport participation surveys; (iv) the acute lack of systematic problem and policy analyses in terms of the impact of austerity measures on people living in poverty; and (v) the reluctance of sport and leisure academics to use critical political analyses of austerity policy measures. We need to develop a better understanding of the impact of austerity policies and a welfare state rollback on the general leisure opportunities and outcomes of people in poverty, to help inform policymakers about the (unintended) outcomes of austerity policies on the multiple lives domains, of which sport is just one of many
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017

Keywords

  • austerity
  • leisure
  • poverty
  • policy
  • social class
  • sport

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