Governance and Governmentality of Sport

Authored by: Jonathan Grix , Spencer Harris

Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138792548
eBook ISBN: 9781315761930
Adobe ISBN: 9781317646679


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A number of issues have ensured the rise in prominence of the term “governance” in relation to sport in recent years. First, a series of scandals have taken place associated with the governance of sporting structures commonly referred to as management corruption (e.g. FIFA). Second, a series of problems associated with competition in sport, commonly referred to as competition corruption (e.g. doping in sport), has occurred. Third, governments globally appear to be increasingly intervening in sport policy for non-sporting – and mostly political – ends. Finally, scholars have grappled with the term in order to explain a change in the manner in which public policy is delivered in a number of advanced democracies. “Governance”, as a concept, has started to be used in sports studies to understand sport more often since the early 2000s. This is despite the fact that sports studies is relatively slow at taking on concepts from “main” academic disciplines, as the trajectory of the core terms from sociology, “social capital”, and from international relations, “soft power”, show. The rise to prominence of “governance” followed the development in most advanced capitalist states, and many “emerging” states, of a mixture of New Public Management – that is, a “devolved” central power and a desire to deliver public policy more efficiently. New Public Management appears to be an almost universally accepted governance type that is ideologically driven and purports to allow policy practitioners autonomy from a centralised state, while “steering” from behind the scenes.

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