Urbanisation and sport participation in townships in China

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Feng, Jing
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University College Cork
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Urbanisation as a phenomenon is a complex social process which can be quite difficult to define and understand. In recent years, urbanisation in China has developed at an ever increasing rate. Urban population rates have now surpassed 50% (figure from 2011). Based on the growing importance placed on the increasing number of urbanised/urbanising townships, the issue of people’s lives within the townships has also become an important feature in regard to the impact that urbanisation is having upon China. Clearly this links China’s urban development to the transformation of sport participation in China. This research aims to examine what the reality of the sport participation on-the-ground is within six selective townships in China and examine the reasons for the reality through the lens of figurational theory. In order to do so, some features of Norbert Elias’s figurational theory (involvement and detachment, power) are employed as the theoretical framework. Two townships in Lüliang of Shanxi province, two townships in Jincheng of Shanxi Province and two townships in Huizhou of Guangdong province were selected in order to answer these key questions. The three cities which the townships are located are in different stages of urbanisation. Semi-structured interview were conducted. The current situation were described from the aspects of age, gender, occupation and income aspects and the transformation of sport participation. This research concludes that the current sport participation situation within these six townships is due to the influences stemming from several aspects: sport policy and sport organisation; economy condition, culture, urbanisation, and self-requirement and individual interest towards sport. This power forms a network of interdependency which also aids our understanding of the current sport participation within these six selected Chinese townships.
Urbanisation , Townships , China , Sport participation
Feng, J. 2013. Urbanisation and sport participation in townships in China. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.