Youth, Sport and Leisure Careers

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The focus of this chapter is young people’s participation in sport and leisure and their careers in these domains. More particularly, we will examine the some of the benefits, and some of the challenges, of studying young people’s lives biographically and longitudinally and how such an approach has a number of advantages for researchers interested in making sense of youth, sport and leisure careers. In doing so, we shall argue that because ‘there has long been a tendency to study (interrelated) aspects of people’s lives – and, for that matter, people themselves in isolation’ (Green, 2014a: 160), a vital pre-requisite of any analysis of young people’s lives involves locating these within the complex interdependencies to which they belonged in the past, and continue to form in the present. While such an approach might seem axiomatic to sociologists of sport and leisure, ‘most of the literature on young people and physical activity ignores the complexity and diversity of young people’s lives’ (Wright and MacDonald, 2010: 1). In other words, many studies fail frequently to take into account how young people’s choices and participation in activities such as sport and leisure ‘are made in the context of their personal biographies and the political, economic, cultural and geographical contexts of their everyday lives’ (Wright and MacDonald, 2010: 2). In this chapter, we shall argue that two dimensions of youth biographies – habitus formation and capital development – are among the key processes which need to be better understood if we are to make more adequate sociological sense of the reality of young people’ sporting and leisure lives, and the contexts in which those lives are enacted.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Youth Sport
EditorsKen Green, Andy Smith
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781134470006
ISBN (Print)9780415840033
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2016

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks

Research Groups

  • Movement Behaviours, Health & Wellbeing Research Group
  • Politics, Pedagogy and Practice Research Group


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