Contemporary Challenges and Risks
Edited by Lourdes Gaitán, Yannis Pechtelidis, Catarina Tomás and Natália Fernandes
Chapter 4: Institutionalization and familization of childhood through leisuresport activities in Italy
Sports are an essential part of the lives of millions of European citizens. In Italy, organized or informal sports activities are currently practiced by most children and young people, not only for purely physical reasons, but also for their socio-educational values and health benefits. In addition to this, children’s sports have recently faced an unexpected transformation, becoming a ‘family leisure activity’, given the amount of time that parents spend following and supporting their sons and daughters. Today’s parents are responding to new expectations about parenting: they are expected to be ‘involved’ parents who actively engage with their children but are also deemed responsible for ensuring children have a good childhood. Given the central role that sports play in meeting this challenge, children’s involvement in sport is a key site for observing the construction of modern childhood and the new patterns of parent/child relations in Italy.
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