Diversity Work in Community Sport: Beyond Individual Commitment?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Ramon SPAAIJ, Victoria University, Australia, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Jonathan MAGEE, Victoria University, Australia
Sean GORMAN, Curtin University, Australia
Ruth JEANES, Monash University, Australia
Karen FARQUHARSON, Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia
Dean LUSHER, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Ryan STORR, Victoria University, Australia
Caitlyn MACKENZIE, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Georgia MCGRATH, Monash University, Australia
Diversity is used as a key term in a broad range of public and private institutions to describe institutional goals, values and practices. Sport is a prominent social institution where the language of diversity is frequently espoused. Diversity has been constructed as one of the key issues and challenges confronting sport today, both as a social reality and as a normative principle. Yet, recent instances of racial, religious, gender and sexual discrimination, alongside other forms of social exclusion, suggest that the sport policy rhetoric of diversity has often not translated into inclusive practice. This paper will critically examine the commitment to diversity in community sport by drawing on the findings of a mixed methods study of diversity and diversity work across 37 sports clubs in Australia, combining in-depth interviews, surveys, social network analysis, participant observation and policy analysis. The paper will focus on the lived experience of ‘diversity champions’ within the clubs, who work to make diversity into an explicit institutional end by bringing it to the foreground of club life. The analysis is theoretically informed by critical diversity studies, in particular Sara Ahmed’s critique of the way diversity is discursively framed and ‘done’ within institutional life. It is shown how Ahmed’s work offers a compelling analytical lens for investigating how diversity and diversity work are experienced and managed in sport.