Loughborough University
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Sport policy in an English city: interests, influence and change

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posted on 2018-10-05, 10:00 authored by Neil A. King
The aim of this study is to examine the influence of local sport interests in one English city in mediating national sport policy initiatives in education, land-use planning and health. This is attempted through an analysis of relationships between key policy actors and the strategies adopted to pursue and defend policy priorities, set within an historical, institutional, political and socio-economic context. Given the increasing political salience of sport, the rationale for the study is to understand the consequences for local sport interests of the re-structuring of the policy area over the last decade. The study is grounded in the ontological and epistemological assumptions of critical realism and its attendant understanding of the dialectical relationship between structure and agency. A neo-pluralist theory of the state and power is adopted in order to provide a macro-level context to the three meso-level theoretical approaches utilised in this study for analysing policy processes, namely: policy networks, the multiple streams framework (MSF) and the advocacy coalition framework (ACF). This approach to examining sport policy processes is complemented by insights from the literature on local government and governance, given that the primary empirical focus is on Liverpool City Council. The empirical work consists of an investigation of first, city council sport policy from the 1970s to date and particularly the period 1995–2006, and second, three aspects of local sport policy that relate to national sport policy, namely: school sport, the playing fields issue, and sport's role in health policy. In terms of research methods, the study utilises a case study approach that included undertaking forty semi-structured interviews with personnel within the sport policy area at the local, county, regional and national levels; an analysis of policy-related documentation produced by central and local government; and observation in council meetings and forums. A discussion of the findings examines the utility of the theoretical frameworks drawn upon in explaining the findings of the study.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Neil Anthony King

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This 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/

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


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