• Against limits: A post-structural theorizing of resistance in leisure

      Sharpe, Erin K (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
      In its recognition of oppositional behavior as informed and political, resistance offers us a way to explore the interconnections between leisure and politics in meaningful ways. However, for the concept to have utility for theorizing theses interconnections, it needs to be located within broader theorizations of power. Drawing on the work of Foucault, this chapter offers a post-structural theorizing of power and resistance. In contrast to modernist binary conceptualizations of power and resistance, Foucault conceptualized power as circulating through a culture or a system and exercised at innumerable points and times. To Foucault, resistance was power exercised in the attempt to destabilize the limits of the present order. The chapter applies Foucault’s perspective of resistance as “against limits” to leisure, and argues that we can think of leisure as resistance when it expands the possibilities for what we can do and who we might imagine ourselves to be.
    • A Good Place for What? Placing ‘Value’ in Youth Centres

      Sharpe, Erin K; Lashua, Brett; van Ingen, Cathy (Taylor and Francis, 2019-07-02)
      In this paper, we investigate the discursive context of community-based youth centres to critically interrogate ideas and practices concerning leisure, youth, and youth centres. Using publicly available documents and data collected with youth at two community-based youth centres, we ask, what is the “good”’ that they do for young people, and how do young people negotiate these discourses? We argue that the youth centres operate in a discursive tension, constructed as a place to change by the (organizational) bodies that established them, and a place to chill by the (youth) bodies that used them. We trace how these discourses entered into the everyday lived contexts of youth centres including their program logics, measures of success, and constructions of youthful subjectivities. We close with a discussion of the implications of the research in terms of how youth and recreation practitioners might use youth centres to support young people’s leisure.
    • Risk, nostalgia, and the production of the ideal childhood in online commentary on children’s outdoor play

      Sharpe, Erin K; Litwiller, Fenton; Gallant, Karen (Taylor and Francis, 2019-11-25)
      We use Foucauldian discourse analysis to examine comments posted online in response to news articles that reported on one Canadian neighbourhood’s ‘ban’ on children’s outdoor play. Our analysis showed that reader comments, both for and against the ban on street play, accessed discourses of risk that produced an idealized childhood based on close parental supervision. Additionally, nostalgic discourse, the feeling that unfettered, wholesome outdoor play has been lost and cannot be reclaimed, also made claims about who the ideal childhood is for. While marginalized children continue to experience disadvantage that inherently exposes them to risks daily, White, middle class children already have access to safer streets, both parent presence or unquestioned but appropriate parental absence, and play in the streets can be part of their everyday lives. We consider how the idealized childhoods produced by discourses of risk and nostalgia influence the materiality of children’s outdoor play, including how children’s time is organized and who gets to organize it, how play is experienced and who gets to experience it; in ideal ways, in ideal spaces, and for the ideal child.