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Title: An analysis of public policy toward adult life-long participation in sport in Australia, Finland and New Zealand
Authors: Collins, Shane
Keywords: Adult life-long participation
Sport policy
Australia
Finland
New Zealand
Sport for all
Grassroots sport
Mass participation
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: © Shane Collins
Abstract: This thesis explores the development of public policy aimed at achieving adult life-long participation in sport in Australia, Finland and New Zealand. Adult life-long participation has frequently been claimed as an aspiration of sport policy in Australia, Finland and New Zealand. This study identifies the characteristics of the sport systems and sport policy process in each of the three countries and outlines the development of policy concerning participation in sport amongst adults. A case study approach was adopted focusing on each of the three countries in turn. Adopting a qualitative methodology the study utilised document analysis and semi-structured interviews to elicit data regarding the development of, and factors impacting upon, the development of sport for all. Focusing upon the meso-level of analysis, policy networks was found to be a useful lens through which to view Finland, drawing attention to a policy subsystem where there has been a consistent focus on sport for all over the last 40 years. The advocacy coalition framework (ACF) provided the greatest utility for providing insights into Australia and New Zealand. The ACF drew attention to competing coalitions within the New Zealand and Australian sport sub-systems highlighting the tensions that had surfaced between elite and mass sport development. Despite little evidence in Australia, Finland or New Zealand of a policy or strategy that could be 'pulled off the shelf and called adult life long participation the findings indicated that Finland has been able to achieve high levels of adult participation in sport. Over the last 40 years successive Finnish governments have been consistent in their approach with regard to the role of national and local government in promoting Sf A. In contrast the Australian federal government has consistently expressed a desire to increase levels of sport participation amongst all Australians, however, despite consistent exhortations policy implementation has failed to reflect the rhetoric. Recent changes to the New Zealand sport policy landscape have made identifying a clear sport development pathway difficult, however, grassroots sport appears to have remained outside the current public policy focus. This study concludes that despite the existence of broadly similar factors such as rising levels of obesity, declining levels of physical activity and continued aspirations for sporting success, quite different sport policy approaches have been adopted in each of the three countries. This draws attention to the role of domestic factors, such as the distinctive socio-economic political and cultural systems in shaping the direction of, and salience of, sport policy to government.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/12881
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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