chapter  8
Young people, leisure and health
BySimon Bradford, Yvonne McNamara
Pages 20

European industrialisation and changing family forms in the nineteenth century demarcated childhood and youth from adulthood and created a space – leisure – where working class young people were considered beyond the influence of domestic, educational and labour market institutions. Emergent youth leisure organizations during this period were established to discipline and train young people for good citizenship. Regulation of leisure became more overt prior to and during periods of war when concerns for the physical condition of young men and the domestic health of young women were at their highest (Bradford 2006, p. 132). In present-day Europe, leisure is one site where the exigencies of childhood and youth are similarly managed in the attempt to secure young people’s responsible citizenship (Department for Education and Skills 2006; Broström 2013). However, various iterations of ‘austerity policy’ across Europe (Bradford and Cullen 2014) mean that funding for state provision of leisure for young people has been diminished or curtailed. The so-called Big Society promulgated by the Coalition government in the United Kingdom has meant an increased role for the voluntary sector in youth leisure provision (Hilton and McKay 2011, p. 24). Such provision often includes health-oriented objectives. The UK government has continued to pursue a neo-liberal policy framework (especially privileging consumerism, markets, competition, efficiency, private sector involvement in service provision and personal responsibility), but presenting this as increasingly outcome-led and shaped by locally determined priorities (Gregory et al. 2012).