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Durham e-Theses
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Negotiating Marginality: Young men’s post-industrial transitions in the context of a sports-based intervention project

MAY, THOMAS,ALEXANDER (2015) Negotiating Marginality: Young men’s post-industrial transitions in the context of a sports-based intervention project. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis is about two socio-culturally and economically distinct urban locales undergoing an ongoing evolution into post-industrial neighbourhoods, and how the young men who inhabit them are exploring and constructing new identities in attempts to transcend the exclusionary logic of post-industrial living. In expanding this argument, this thesis has also comparatively considered the ways in which sports-based interventions (SBIs) approach the popular manifestations of local-global transformations (i.e., unemployment, criminal behaviour, and social exclusion) and seeks to alleviate them, and has detailed how my participants experience SBIs and whether they offer a sufficient form of intervention to address the aforementioned symptoms of post-industrial change. Ultimately, this thesis has explained the ‘lived experiences’ of young men residing in the post-industrial inner city and their inevitable attempts at adapting to changes in the socio-cultural economy via their use of an SBI.

The young men described in this thesis are therefore considered cultural products of the changes occurring in the post-industrial metropolis, adapting and responding to macro-sociological changes. Hence, this thesis has uncovered that contemporary, post-industrial youth identities are varied, diverse, and heterogeneous across populations, shaped and fashioned by global social, political, and economic transformations, and the embedded habitus that operate in two distinct post-industrial locales. Youthful experiences of unemployment are therefore not singular or homogeneous across the UK, and neither is there a standardised or consistent youthful subjectivity within these post-industrial neighbourhoods and communities.

In detailing the transformations and evolving practices of young working-class men, this thesis does three things. First, this thesis demonstrates that there is no ‘standardised’ progression through SBIs and beyond. This is because the divergent groups of young men that ‘make use’ of SBIs and the differing cultural contexts, labour markets, and habitus of the de-industrialised urban areas in which they reside results in deviating and opposing post-SBI pathways. Second, the identification of four contrasting ‘types’ of young men means that diverse modalities of SBI work are likely to be more effective for different young men at different stages in their unemployment ‘careers’. Hence, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to SBI policy is hopelessly idealistic and destined to fail in making a considerable impact on structural unemployment. Finally, I conclude that to address the issue of contemporary urban marginality and worklessness, a radical overhaul of SBI work is required. Instead of functioning as a conventional educational arena in which young men are socialised and recalibrated into a preordained social world without consultation, SBIs need to become a transformative context in which its participants recognise and respond to structural impediments and become empowered citizens, ready to challenge and transform society.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:urban marginality; social exclusion; de-industrialisation; sports-based interventions
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Jun 2015 08:36

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