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Exploring an activist approach to working with boys from socially vulnerable backgrounds in a sport context

Luguetti, Carla and Oliver, Kimberly L. and Kirk, David and Dantas, Luiz (2017) Exploring an activist approach to working with boys from socially vulnerable backgrounds in a sport context. Sport, Education and Society, 22 (4). pp. 493-510. ISSN 1357-3322

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Abstract

This study explores an activist approach for co-creating a prototype pedagogical model of sport for working with boys from socially vulnerable backgrounds. This paper addresses the key features that emerged when we identified what facilitated and hindered the boys’ engagement in sport. This study was an activist research project that was conducted between July 2013 and December 2013 in a soccer program in a socially and economically disadvantaged neighbourhood in Brazil. The lead author, supervised by the second author, worked with a soccer class of 17 boys between ages 13 and 15, 4 coaches, a pedagogical coordinator and a social worker. Multiple sources of data were collected, including 38 field journal/observations and audio records of: 18 youth work sessions, 16 coaches’ work sessions, and 3 combined coaches and youth work sessions. In addition the first and second author had 36 90 minute debriefing and planning sessions. By using an activist approach three features were identified as being essential: an ethic of care, an attentiveness to the community, and a community of sport. Findings suggest that it is possible to use sport as a cultural asset to benefit youth from socially vulnerable backgrounds by offering them a place where they can feel protected and dream about possible futures.