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Title: Social exclusion in British tennis : a history of privilege and prejudice
Author: Lake, Robert James
ISNI:       0000 0001 3604 0037
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2008
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This study focuses on the issue of social exclusion in British tennis. It commences with a critique of current LTA policy, presenting exclusion as static, ahistorical and underpinned by false dichotomies of age and social class. Aspects of Norbert Elias’s theoretical approach are employed throughout as an analytical framework. Initially, the roots of exclusion in British tennis are sought through historical analysis. Aspects of the Civilising Process help direct attention towards wider social processes to explain the prevalence of exclusion, particularly in tennis clubs. Cost was a crucial factor in determining early access, but as tennis became more accessible to lower classes, codes of behavioural etiquette helped demarcate members along status lines. Into the mid-20th century, the globalisation, professionalisation and commercialisation of tennis pushed the LTA to adopt a more performance-oriented outlook, but this has come to oppose the more relaxed culture of tennis clubs. Thus, a power struggle emerged between these two institutions, and, underpinned by thirty interviews with leading figures in British tennis as well as extensive documentary analysis, the third section documents these developments from the 1980s. Crucially, tennis clubs remain largely amateur and voluntary-run organisations, yet are important locations for the implementation of the LTA’s demanding talent development objectives. These recent developments are understood with the help of Elias’s Game Models theory. The fourth section presents findings from a ten-month ethnographic study of social exclusion in a tennis club; a micro-analysis of club member relations underpinned by Elias’s Established-Outsider Relations theory. Overall findings suggest that social exclusion in British tennis is far more complex, multi-faceted and historically-rooted than what current LTA discourse presents. Differences in age and class are less central, and instead preconceived notions of social status based on longevity of membership, adherence to behavioural norms and playing standard are powerful determinants of inclusion.
Supervisor: Roderick, M. ; Armstrong, G. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tennis; Social exclusion; Elias; Social class; Lawn tennis