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Social inclusion and institutionalisation of urban lifestyle sports


Østergaard, L. D., & Larsen, S. H.



Social Issues in Sport, Leisure, and Health

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This chapter is about urban lifestyle sports and social inclusion in sports. Urban lifestyle sports, such as parkour, skateboarding, and streetball, are becoming more and more widespread even as we see a reduction in young people’s participation in traditional sports clubs. There seems to be something about the traditional, organised sport that doesn’t fit or attract a growing number of young people today. Urban lifestyle sports are interpreted as having an inclusive potential and providing an alternative to traditional clubs-based sports. Because such sports are self-organised, they can be practiced whenever, wherever, and with whomever. They are characterised by a lack of adult control, rules, and regulations and they are practiced in urban public environments with a focus on fun and play. However, urban lifestyle sport has been developed and transformed in close interaction with traditional and formal institutions and sports cultures. In this chapter, we use institutional theory to discuss how processes of institutionalization have impacted the inclusive potential of urban lifestyle sports. In order to do this, we also describe how traditional club-based sports can be both inclusive and exclusive and show how social inclusion in sports is not only a personal challenge but also a social issue.


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