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Supporting the Fans: Learning-disability, Football Fandom and Social Exclusion

SOUTHBY, KRIS (2013) Supporting the Fans: Learning-disability, Football Fandom and Social Exclusion. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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In Britain, within the contemporary drive of using sport to tackle the isolation of socially excluded groups, association football (football) fandom has been implicated in many policy documents as a possible site for learning-disabled people to become more socially included. However, whilst there is some evidence of the benefits of playing football for learning-disabled people, there is little evidence to support these claims. Drawing on empirical data from learning-disabled people about their experiences of football fandom and from relevant authorities responsible for facilitating the fandom of learning-disabled people, this thesis provides a critical analysis of the opportunities to tackle social exclusion that football fandom provides learning-disabled people. This includes examining the experience of football fandom for the learning-disabled people involved, any opportunities for social inclusion football fandom provides, and the response of relevant football authorities to learning-disabled fans. The thesis concludes that whilst football fandom offers social benefits to learning-disabled people in terms of opportunities for social interaction, a sense of belonging and a shared social identity that go some way towards tackling their social exclusion, football fandom is unlikely to result in the 'social inclusion' characterised by Government.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Learning disability, sport policy, social inclusion, social exclusion, football fandom
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 May 2013 12:35

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