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ISSN 1743-0445

Conflicting rationalities of participation: constructing and resisting ‘Midnight football’ as an instrument of social policy

Periódico / Revista

Sport in Society


n. 6




v. 25


p. 1142–1159



Today, sport activities are performed as instruments for social objectives. In this article, we examine Midnight Football, a sports-based intervention promoting social inclusion and crime-prevention. Based on interviews with participants and on-site observations, we examine how young participants understand their participation in relation to the overarching ambitions of the intervention. Participants emphasize that football is fun, enables social relationships, and opportunities of development, and not primarily the instrumental utility of the practices noted to underpin the intervention. In the tensions between the different discourses, the hegemony of instrumentality which conditions the activities can be challenged. At the same time, the instrumentality of sport utilized on the explicit premise of social objectives challenges the traditional and competitive notions of sport practices. This dual resistance is principally discussed with respect to sport provided as a right or premised as an instrument of specific policy objectives.


EKHOLM, David; DAHLSTEDT, Magnus. Conflicting rationalities of participation: constructing and resisting ‘Midnight football’ as an instrument of social policy. Sport in Society. London, v. 25, n. 6, p. 1142–1159, 2022.
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