Preface by Paul Willis
This reader begins a conversation about the many aspects of critical youth studies. Chapters in this volume consider essential issues such as class, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, cultural capital, and schooling in creating a dialogue about and a conversation with youth. In a society that continues to devalue, demonize, and pathologize young women and men, leading names in the academy and youth communities argue that traditional studies of youth do not consider young people themselves. Engaging with today’s young adults in formal and informal pedagogical settings as an act of respect, social justice, and transgression creates a critical pedagogical path in which to establish a meaningful twenty-first century critical youth studies.
28 Decolonizing Sport-Based Youth Development
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It has been suggested in some quarters that sport, as we know it, is a uniquely modern phenomenon. It is a cultural formation that places emphasis on efficiency, spatial conquest, discipline, adherence to rules, training and regimentation, physical strength and competition, calculability, spectacles, and commercialization. It is a civilizing apparatus unlike any other, the argument goes, metonymically bound in equal parts to the pathologizations of Henry Ford, Adam Smith, Edward Wakefield, and Vince Lombardi (to name but a few key patriarchs).
In recent years, scholars have paid considerable attention to “concrete techniques” imbedded in sport, “whereby individuals and their bodies are subjected to control and whereby individuals discipline themselves into docile, productive bodies and peak performers” (Heikkala, 1993, p. 398); asking, in what ways does the individual participant, by engaging in sport, give themselves, their bodies, and the corporeal freedoms over to modern systematics? This line of critical inquiry seeks to explicate and raise awareness about how—through regimes of Muscular Christianity in the United States, public school sport in the United Kingdom, Eastern European callisthenic and German Turner movements, and Victorian Government school sport systems found in many Southern hemisphere Commonwealth outposts—the sporting body has been transformed into a site of surveillance, control, and productivity. In short, how sport offers a way to produce modernity’s right bodies.
Here we join a number of critical physical educators and sport scholars in extending these considerations to contemporary sport’s disciplinary utility over youth (see Giardina & Donnelly,...
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