Running and swimming : a materialized account of careers and practices

Gillett, Joe and Shove, Elizabeth and Spurling, Nicola (2018) Running and swimming : a materialized account of careers and practices. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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While regular exercise can bring a range of benefits, the social processes underpinning how participation in various exercise activities starts and, in particular, is sustained and changes continues to be contested. This thesis explores the relevance of an approach that takes practice – and the associated proposition that ‘materials’ are part of practice – as the central unit of conceptualization and analysis when examining changing patterns of participation in running and swimming. Drawing on interviews with 30 runners and swimmers in two English cities, Bristol and Lancaster, as well as desk-based historical research, I focus on what is involved in the ‘doing’ of runs and swims, how this has changed in recent decades, and how this links to patterns of participation in interviewees’ lives. My research sheds insight into the processes through which different forms of running and swimming (various indoor and outdoor forms, including mass participation events) come to intersect with people’s ‘careers’ in these practices, and the cumulative effects of the ‘materialized doing’ of runs and swims in shaping where, when, and how these practices are conducted. I argue that these dynamics are important for understanding how participation is sustained and changes, and that the premises which inform current sports policy, and the interpretations of participation on which these ideas depend, do not capture the ways in which ‘materialized careers’ in running and swimming unfold. In response, I discuss ways of conceptualizing participation that better capture the processes through which running and swimming evolve.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
?? social practice theorymaterialityexercise and environmentrunningswimmingqualitative research ??
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Deposited On:
18 Dec 2018 11:00
Last Modified:
09 May 2024 01:11