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Title: Silent voices: Consulting children in sport
Authors: Brackenridge, CH
Keywords: Children;Voices;Sport
Issue Date: 2004
Citation: Annual conference of the Leisure Studies Association, Leeds Metropolitan University, Jul 2004
Abstract: Despite being outnumbered by the over 60s in the 2001 Census, the children and young people have assumed a central role in the UK political agenda and are protected by several international statutes and directives. At the same time, leisure and sport researchers have been responsive to the political imperative for stakeholder consultation that characterises modern leisure policy. Focus groups, surveys and other tools of the social researcher’s trade have been used extensively in research that serves the needs of leisure industry clients across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Yet, arguably, the opinions of children and young people have not been seriously taken into account in the changes to policy and practice that result from such research. Young peoples’ patterns of leisure consumption, highly influenced by commercial cultural forms, can either confirm or, often, contradict the rational recreation messages promulgated by government. The introduction of national standards for child protection in sport (CPSU, 2003) is, arguably, a manifestation of the policy fixation on youth and child welfare in public leisure provision that accommodates adults’ own anxieties about uncertainty, fragmentation and discontinuity in modern life. This paper draws on the experience of researching child protection and young peoples’ welfare in sport. It considers the research design, ethics and consent challenges involved and critically assesses clients’ and researchers’ effectiveness in giving voice to this major stakeholder group. It is argued that consultation is all-too-easily used as a mask for continuing paternalism by those for whom radical change would threaten their power base.
Appears in Collections:Sport
Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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