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Sport, policy and Europeanisation: process and interest mediation in European Union decision making

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posted on 19.11.2010, 14:29 authored by Nicola Matthews
The thesis seeks to analyse the implications of the deepening and widening of the European Union for sport and leisure-related policy developments. Firstly, the work seeks to establish an appropriate conceptual framework through which to review how the process of Europeanisation is influencing sport and leisure policies. The term Europeanisation refers to the changing nature of relations between regional, national and supranational tiers of governance. Secondly, the thesis reviews the literature on the progression of EU level sports and leisure policy interventions since 1957. The range of rationales in operation, and the maturation of those rationales over the last forty years, is considered. The capacity for European level intervention has grown significantly through the development of EU socio-political and economic integration policies, the most significant being the four freedoms (the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons) and the associated legislation. The empirical work subsequently reviews the implications the Europeanisation process for three areas of decision-making: sports broadcasting rights, the use of European Structural Funds and the debate on a EU competence for sport. Drawing on both figurational sociology and policy network analysis, the research identifies the key stakeholders involved in the policy process and seeks to illustrate the nature of the policy-making processes. The thesis progresses the argument that the development of economic, social and political inter-dependencies, along transnational rather than national lines, are inevitably leading to questions over the role of the nation state and the institutions of the European Union. Accordingly, the research identifies and evaluates the positions held by the key actors, on central issues, within each of the three areas of policy and reflects on the distribution and management of key resources. The conclusion addresses the issue of whether the strategic alliances formed during the policy process are indicative of the development of a European level sports policy community or whether other forms of policy network operate at the supranational level of governance. With reference to the three areas of policy analysed, the final chapter outlines the ways in which policy networks are changing, or resisting change, in the light of developments at the European level. The evidence suggests that the sub-sectoral nature of the policy studies conducted, militates against the formation of a highly integrated, independent policy community. Consequently, it is appropriate to refer to more disaggregated, issue-specific networks. Nevertheless, the potential for a growing formalisation of the sports policy agenda at the European level is such that policy communities may develop and coalesce at some point in the future.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Nicola Matthews

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Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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