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Exploring parkrun as a social context for collective health practices: running with and against the moral imperatives of health responsibilisation.
journal contributionposted on 2017-10-26, 10:38 authored by Gareth Wiltshire, Simone Fullager, Clare StevinsonClare Stevinson
Critiques of public health policies to reduce physical inactivity have led to calls for practice-led research and the need to reduce the individualising effects of health promotion discourse. This paper examines how parkrun – an increasingly popular, regular, community-based 5km running event – comes to be understood as a ‘health practice’ that allows individuals to enact contemporary desires for better health in a collective social context. Taking a reflexive analytical approach, we use interview data from a geographically diverse sample of previously inactive parkrun participants (N=19) to explore two themes. First, we argue that parkrun offers a space for ‘collective bodywork’ whereby participants simultaneously enact personal body projects while also experience a sense of being “all in this together” which works to ameliorate certain individualising effects of health responsibilisation. Second, we examine how parkrun figures as a health practice that makes available the subject position of the ‘parkrunner’. In doing so, parkrun enables newly active participants to negotiate discourses of embodied risk to reconcile the otherwise paradoxical experience of being an ‘unfit-runner’. Findings contribute to sociological understandings of health and illness through new insights into the relation between health practices and emerging physical cultures, such as parkrun.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Published inSociology of Health and Illness
CitationWILTSHIRE, G., FULLAGER, S. and STEVINSON, C., 2018. Exploring parkrun as a social context for collective health practices: running with and against the moral imperatives of health responsibilisation.. Sociology of Health and Illness, 40(1), pp. 3–17.
Publisher© Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness. Published by Wiley
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)
Publisher statementThis work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
NotesThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: WILTSHIRE, G., FULLAGER, S. and STEVINSON, C., 2018. Exploring parkrun as a social context for collective health practices: running with and against the moral imperatives of health responsibilisation.. Sociology of Health and Illness, 40(1), pp. 3–17., which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12622. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.