Leisure through the Lenses of Sport in the Context of India

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Sanjay TEWARI, Indian Sociological Society, India
The role and impact of sports in society has been a subject of debate for centuries. For some observers, sport is viewed as a physical activity always associated with competition among nations or teams for pride and glory.

But just as sport has the capacity to awaken exaggerated nationalistic sentiments, intolerance and even violence, there is also a sector of society that supports the notion that sport can serve as a means to advance social development processes, through leisurely practices.  While there is currently direct evidence that leisure contributes to sociological development through fostering social inclusion and community development, sport possesses substantial social value, but less evidence. This study rotates around the two states of India, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where the researcher studies an excellent hook for engaging people through leisured sport practices, particularly those who may be suffering from disadvantage and providing a supportive environment to encourage and assist those individuals in their social development, learning, and connection through related programs and services.

These approaches are at the heart of the neoliberals agenda to improve individual freedom and opportunity. Sport and Leisure practitioners are passionate about the impacts their programs have on individuals and social development. While being anecdotal, this evaluation attempts to capture meaningful data to contribute to the evidence base for this claim that leisurely activities through sport attempts at doing socially and morally good to the society.

The challenge for the traditional leisure and sport sector in Uttar Pradesh is to move beyond current sport delivery practices to provide a range of products including low cost locally developed grass roots opportunities. In Bihar however, the opportunity exists for NGOs, with government support, to establish long-term viable programs that use sport in the form of leisure to engage with communities to deliver social outcomes.