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Title: Constructing the active-body : a sociological investigation
Author: Austin, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0001 3433 2589
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis is set against a backdrop of continued initiatives by the Government for promoting the 'active-body' as a central tenet of its current and future health policy. The purpose of this study was to construct an in-depth investigation into the processes and mechanisms involved in participating in sports and physical activities. The research is centred on exploring the participation experiences of weightlifters, runners and golfers. The data for this study were derived through employing a variety of qualitative based research methodologies, including participation observation, informal and semistructured interviews and focus group sessions. In this respect data was generated that not only illuminated the processes behind participation in sports and physical activities, but also the differences between participating in weightlifting, running and golf. The findings demonstrate that the processes and mechanisms of participation are complex and multi-layered. However, through employing the works of Bourdieu on the different forms of cultural capital, and the works of Goffinan on the presentation of the self, this study shows that the key determinant to a successful engagement is the development and maintenance of an acceptable social identity amongst participating others. Furthermore, this study shows that as sports and physical activities are embodied activities, the possession of an active-body identity, constructed through the accumulation of appropriate physical, social and sub-cultural capitals, serves as an important 'identifier' by which the social identity amongst participating others is conferred. It is through investigating and maintaining in the active-body and the subsequent development of an acceptable social identity that individuals derive a sense of belonging, which in tum engenders the ontological security about the physical self that serves to stabilise long-term patterns of participation.
Supervisor: Webster, Frank ; Blackman, Tim ; Miller, Tina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral