Rural Restructuring and the Changing Geography of Competitive Sport

Matthew Tonts, Kim Atherley

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    59 Citations (Scopus)


    The geography of sport has received relatively little attention from those interested in processes of rural social and economic change. This is despite the important role that sport plays in the structure of rural communities and regions. In addition to the obvious health benefits associated with physical activity, sport contributes to community identity and provides opportunities for social interaction. There is, however, considerable evidence to suggest that processes of restructuring are having direct impacts on sport in rural areas. Drawing on a case study from rural Western Australia, this paper argues that economic adjustment in the farming and business sectors, service withdrawal, and population decline are just some of the changes undermining the viability of sporting clubs in rural areas. We suggest that while sporting clubs have tended to be resilient in the face of restructuring, it is also clear that one of the outcomes is a changing geography of sport in declining rural areas.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)125-144
    JournalAustralian Geographer
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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