Fields of Play: An Ethnography of Children's Sports
Thousands of children participate in community sports every year, enjoying recreation time with their peers, getting healthy exercise, and learning a variety of personal and group skills. At the same time, children's sports are not without controversy: parents can be overly invested in their children's exploits, competitive success is often the focus, and rising costs can limit participation. Consider, too, that these activities, billed as being for the kids, are often overlaid with other agendas by the adults who volunteer, work, and generally support children's sports.
Noel Dyck incorporates nearly two decades of ethnographic field research into this anthropologically informed account that illustrates how all those involved in children's sports—boys and girls, parents, coaches, and sport officials—shape these complex, vibrant fields of play. In the process, he explores larger questions and debates about contemporary family and community and the shaping of childhood, youth, and adulthood. Bridging anthropology, sport studies, and childhood studies, Fields of Play offers a rich understanding of an area that has, to date, gained relatively little attention by social scientists.
- Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
- Division: Higher Education
- World Rights
- Page Count: 224 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
ReviewsIn light of the seismic shift toward criminal behavior involving youth who play sports, it is calming to have an ethnographic account of youth sport that speaks to and demonstrates the positives that come from having young girls and boys participating in games.
Noel Dyck has written a fascinating and revealing study of children's sports. Anchored in long-term fieldwork, Dyck brilliantly captures the complex social field of 'child's play,' with its underpinning and often-hidden array of social relations, roles, and responsibilities. The book provides the most persuasive investigation yet of community sports, and is an outstanding contribution to the social science literature.
Richard Giulianotti, Loughborough University
Filled with lively ethnographic accounts, this book makes a valuable contribution to anthropology and childhood studies by elucidating the nuanced experiences of sport and, importantly, treating young people as engaged social actors in their own right.
Virginia Caputo, Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children's Rights, Carleton University
This ethnography is a beautifully written and carefully crafted analysis of children's sports. It shines new light on the field of family studies and will provide essential reading in graduate and undergraduate courses.
Caroline Knowles, Goldsmiths, University of London
Author InformationNoel Dyck is Professor of Social Anthropology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. His most recent books include Young Men in Uncertain Times, co-editor with Vered Amit (2011), and Exploring Regimes of Discipline: The Dynamics of Restraint, editor (2008).
Table of contentsAcknowledgements
1. Encountering the Fields of Play
2. "What Kids Really Need": The Systematizing of Sport in Canada
3. Becoming Sport Parents
4. Organizing and Coaching Community Sports
5. Becoming Athletes and Players
6. Pulling Together and Apart in Community Sports
7. Sporting Dreams
8. How the Game is Played
Subjects and Courses