PhD Zeno Nols

The impact of sport on young people in socially vulnerable situation within super-diverse urban contexts (de impact van sport op jongeren in maatschappelijk kwetsbare situaties binnen superdiverse stedelijke contexten)

ZENO NOLS

Voor een Nederlandse samenvatting van dit doctoraatsopzet: zeno.nols@vub.be.

This PhD study will mainly depart from the framework of social vulnerability (Vettenburg, 1998) that has been used to analyse the distorted and precarious relations of young people with society and its institutions. The progressive accumulation of negative experiences with these institutions eventually result in social disconnectedness and an unfavourable perspective (i.e. education, employment, future ambitions). Stigmatisation, sanctioning and self-perceived incompetence are often the outcomes.

Although young people from socially excluded and disadvantaged groups are less likely to participate in organized sport (i.e. Theeboom et al., 2015), under the right circumstances, it is believed that sport can be managed ‘for the better’ and empower young people out of their vulnerable situations (Haudenhuyse, Theeboom & Nols, 2012; Hartmann, 2003; Kelly, 2010; Coalter, 2012). However, the assumptions underlying most approaches within ‘sport for development’ (e.g., ‘sport plus clubs’) are usually grounded in a ‘deficit-reduction model’ of development with people perceived to be ‘in need’ of ‘development’, without any specification of what this ‘development’ is (Coakley, 2002; Coalter, 2010).

The following questions will be dealt with:

  • How are sport plus clubs supposed to work? What is the presumed programme theory (logic) underpinning their practice?
  • What assumptions do we make about participants? How and in what ways are they in need of ‘development’? What is meant by this term?
  • How can the impact of sport plus clubs be monitored and measured?
  • Is change uni-directional? Will participants in sport plus clubs always show to positive outcomes?
  • More generally, what is the relationship between a highly individualised definition of ‘development’ and more general process of development?

This study will allow policy makers and sport practitioners who use sport as a means for the personal development of young people to improve their ‘rationale’ (i.e. assumptions about young people’s needs) and their insight into monitoring and evaluation of sport plus clubs.

This PhD study works together with six sport plus clubs, being Antwerp Wolf Pack Basketball Academy, Brussels Boxing Academy, Brussels Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy, City Pirates Antwerpen, Kras Sport Antwerpen, Opboksen Genk