Sport as a Vehicle for Social Mobility and Regulation of Disadvantaged Urban Youth: Lessons from Rotterdam

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Spaaij, Ramon (2009) Sport as a Vehicle for Social Mobility and Regulation of Disadvantaged Urban Youth: Lessons from Rotterdam. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 44 (2). pp. 247-264. ISSN 1012-6902 (print) 1461-7218 (online)


This article addresses sport's contribution to social mobility of disadvantaged urban youth through an analysis of the Sport Steward Program in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Sport-based social intervention programs are conceptualized as potential vehicles for the creation of different forms of capital from which certain benefits can be derived that enable social agents to improve their social position. While the Sport Steward Program has contributed to objective and subjective social mobility of some participants, in most cases it is more suitable to highlight the relatively modest increases in participants' cultural, social and/or economic capital. However, rather than simply enhancing individual freedom and opportunity, sport-based intervention programs also serve as a form of social control and regulation. Sport is increasingly becoming a substantial aspect of the neoliberal policy repertoire of cities like Rotterdam aimed at generating social order in disadvantaged inner-city neighbourhoods.

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Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Current > FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords disadvantaged youth, regulation, social mobility, the Netherlands, urban regeneration
Citations in Scopus 89 - View on Scopus
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