Moving beyond ideology: contemporary recreation and the neoliberal discourses of new public health

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • The suggestion that recreation needs to reaffirm historic values has become a common narrative throughout Canada’s contemporary recreation literature. A central assumption underlying these calls is that re-establishing the field’s social liberal beliefs will highlight the negative effects of neoliberal ideology and begin the process of repositioning recreation as a public good. Recognising, however, that the impact of neoliberalism does not lie solely in its status as a political ideology, we use this paper to demonstrate how our contemporary recreation practices are shaped by much more than the budget restrictions, efficiency measures, and audit processes of neoliberal ideology. Drawing on Foucault’s concept of governmentality, we analyse the articulation of neoliberalism as a political rationality during 16 focus groups and demonstrate how, in a recreation context, neoliberal discourses encourage individuals to govern their own subjectivity through healthy lifestyle and recreation practices. In doing so, we not only show how recreation is located within the dominant assumptions of new public health, we highlight the ways in which epidemiology has been used by participants to construct their understanding of recreation, physical in/activity, and health in ways that shaped their own behaviours and those of Others.

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  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
  • License
    © Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript / Author’s Original Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Leisure Studies on June 20, 2020, available at http://wwww.tandfonline. com/
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    Lisa N. Tink, Danielle Peers, Candace I. J. Nykiforuk & Bethan C. Kingsley (2020) Moving beyond ideology: contemporary recreation and the neoliberal discourses of new public health, Leisure Studies, 39:6, 767-781, DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2020.1778772