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    A study investigating the landscape of sport, health and fitness and its impact on society

    Yianni, Chris (2018) A study investigating the landscape of sport, health and fitness and its impact on society. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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    This thesis offers an insight into the societal impact of the landscape of sport, health and fitness with an especial emphasis on running. It both highlights and assesses the nature of this impact and in doing so evaluates how the health and welfare discourse of contemporary western society affects, and is affected by, the landscape of sport, health and fitness. The concept of ‘identity’ and its importance for individuals and groups is highlighted in order to show how the shaping of identity is influenced for many by their relationship with sports, health and fitness. Particular emphasis is given to race and gender and through documentary and discourse analysis, in order to highlight ways in which the sport, health and fitness milieu can be both a vehicle for individual and societal progress and can also be used to reinforce existing power relations. A series of short interviews with runners was used as a springboard into further research which included analysis of Olympic legacy documents and glossy health and fitness magazines to ascertain the nature of health messages therein. In addition, the representation of women in the sport, health and fitness milieu via mobile phone sports news applications (apps) was analysed which found an imbalance in reporting that rendered women, if not invisible, certainly second to men in terms of perceived importance. This thesis draws from a range of theorists covering subjects that have been discussed throughout the development of classical and contemporary social theory. My position as a runner and cyclist is referred to within this thesis along with elements of my identity that influence my research and subsequent findings. Although this thesis is not presented as ethnographic research there are certainly elements of an ethnographic approach included. The civilizing process, gender transgression, nudge theory, self-regulation and self-help are areas of interest highlighted in this thesis to show how this seemingly disparate group of phenomena can be linked to the main area of research. In so doing the thesis considers a wide field but brings together themes that have not been previously considered in unison. The landscape of sport, health and fitness matters because it does have an impact on society and it can be a major contributor to both individual and societal change or the maintenance of the status quo. This thesis, by considering the nature of such an impact by linking sport, health, fitness, identity and discourse, adds to our knowledge by creating a tour of the landscape not previously presented.

    Impact and Reach


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