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Wed. 23 July 2014

Article published in the journal Society and Leisure

Society and Leisure: Studying commitment from the perspective of collective action: the case of sport clubs in proximate surroundings.

Dominique Malatesta, Dominique Golay, Fabienne Malbois and Christophe Jaccoud - HES SO, EESP, Lausanne, Switzerland; Institute of social sciences, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland; CIES, University of Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland

This paper, using ethnographic research, approaches sport clubs in proximate surroundings as small societies. More precisely, the analysis of two sporting activities practiced by girls (baton twirling and football) highlights the fact that commitment is linked to a phenomenon of ‘familiarization.’ As a matter of fact, this phenomenon addresses two concurrent concerns: bringing the club to life, while dealing with sporting institution requirements as well as the social order more generally. In this regard, the politics of closeness sheds light on the ways in which the canonical models of the sporting institution are renegotiated in the clubs and the leisure activities are regulated in an effort to achieve proximity. As the clubs endeavor to maintain the practitioners within the sporting activities, regardless of the latter’s capacities and performances, this policy makes sustained commitment possible, contradicting the currently accepted view that girls tend to withdraw from sport.

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