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Title: Homeless football : an exploration of theory and practice
Author: Horsfield, Lindsey Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 0734
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2015
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Those individuals in our midst without a firm and fixed place to call home in society have elicited variously: fear, disgust, disdain, punishment, pity, nostalgia, and curiosity. The transience of their lives positions them ‘outside the city walls’ both literally and symbolically. These widely negative perceptions see those who experience Homelessness to be burdened both physically and emotionally. This vastly complicated issue is one, seemingly, without a solution. So what can sport, specifically football, offer to that which has hitherto failed to erase this issue? Homelessness and sport manifest obvious inequalities. So in society as in sport there are winners and losers. Similar to sport, Homelessness is enduring and kaleidoscopic. Attitudes toward sport, like arguably the most marginalised members of any society, can change with time and place. Social inequalities are reflected in sport even if sport has positioned itself as a salve for a range of social problems. An annual football tournament that carries the claim that ‘A ball can change the world’ might offer a somewhat simplistic and mythopoeic view of sport. Such a view of sport has been challenged but it has its aficionados. Whether or not football, in its delivery or play, is capable of solving anything for those enduring the predicament of Homelessness is tantamount to this inquiry. What follows seeks to complement contemporary research by offering a panoptic view of the genre of that termed ‘Homeless Football’ (HF) utilising an analysis of one country’s – England – national programme and a HF initiative in a local setting. The local, national and international segue – hopefully – serves to illustrate the interactions between those playing and those delivering. Using French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s theories and concepts, the social field of HF is considered and interrogated. In this space of play will be the focus of four specific questions were asked: What is the social field of HF and how can it be understood? Who are the social agents taking part in HF? How does HF ‘sit’ within the broader sport-for-development sector? And lastly, is there a meaningful impact for individuals experiencing Homelessness through participation in such football opportunities? The research presents the complexities that encompass HF in definition, delivery, and desired outcomes. The genre has many angles and aficionados. If it has critics they remain silent. The dualism of Homelessness and Football proved to be a seductive partnership.
Supervisor: Armstrong, G. Sponsor: Homeless Link
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sport for development ; Sociology ; Pierre Bordieu ; Ethnography