Governing under advanced liberalism: sport policy and the social investment state
Since the election in 1997 of a New Labour Government in the United Kingdom, a growing number of analyses have provided insights into, and critiques of, what has been termed the â€œsocial investment stateâ€\x9D. To date, these analyses have interrogated particular developments and distinct issues in a number of key social welfare policy-related sectors, including education, citizenship, the family, and poverty/employment. Notable by its absence, however, is the contribution that policies for sport and physical activity are now playing in the realisation of New Labourâ€™s social investment strategies. This article therefore interrogates and registers the growing salience of sport policy interventions for the construction of a social investment state within the broader political context of governing under â€œadvanced liberalâ€\x9D rationalities. The â€œactive citizenâ€\x9D, and children and young people, in particular, are valorised and appear centre-stage as the focus for these interventions. This child-centred focus is problematised, as is the argument that, under prevailing political rationalities of advanced liberalism, government â€œsteersâ€\x9D rather than â€œrowsâ€\x9D and â€œenablesâ€\x9D rather than â€œcommandsâ€\x9D. Under these conditions, while children are deemed deserving of investment, there may be other groups who are deemed less deserving, for example, older people who, unlike children and young people have little currency in a future-oriented world. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLP 2007
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