Discourses of Social Inclusion in Sport and Recreation in Rural Ontario
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AbstractThe benefits and challenges of participating in sport and recreation as a new Canadian are well documented in the existing literature, however, they are typically considered in an urban context. More specifically, a gap exists regarding how sport and recreation practitioners and managers understand social inclusion work in sport and recreation and the impact these understandings may have on newcomer populations who are living in rural and other non-metropolitan communities. The purpose of this study was to gain a more in-depth understanding of how social inclusion is understood in both sport and recreation practice and policy. Further, I sought to critically examine discourses of Whiteness in programming and policy in rural settings. Therefore, in this research, I explored two questions: 1) How do sport and recreation practitioners and managers understand social inclusion in and through sport and recreation in their rural communities? and 2) How do discourses of community and inclusion impact the way sport and recreation practitioners and managers define and understand social inclusion? An instrumental case study methodology was used to explore these questions in a region of Northern Ontario (including Nipissing and Sudbury Districts) and both semi-structured interviews and document analysis were conducted to collect data. A critical discourse analysis (CDA) was used for this research which helped to highlight how discourse functions to construct and transmit knowledge, and the ways this organizes and maintains social institutions (Fairclough 2001; Mogashoa, 2014). I drew from Critical Whiteness theory (CWT) to better understand how discourses of Whiteness are produced and maintained in sport and recreation. The analysis identified three discourses related to social inclusion in sport and recreation: We’re all in this together; ‘They’ aren’t from here; and Whose responsibility is it?. This research highlights how discourses of colourblindness, “othering” of diverse populations, and ambiguity of responsibility for social inclusion work may inform practice and underpin systems of Whiteness in sport and recreation. Additionally, it is important to consider how policies, practices, and understandings of social inclusion work in sport and recreation settings are translated throughout and between organizations.
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