One of the objectives of the project Future for Children ++ is to develop a European-based coach education programme for youth sport. In order to do that, our team explored the necessary key components, providing an overview regarding the problem at hand, defining the term “inclusion” as well as barriers to organized sports, which low-SES families tend to face regularly.
In this article, we address the definition of the term inclusion:
First and foremost, it is important to clarify the term “inclusion” when we talk about sport and inclusion, as well as the terms that are often linked to it, such as integration, social cohesion or social coexistence, as opposed to exclusion, segregation, discrimination or vulnerability. There are many definitions and practices associated with the term “inclusion”, which makes it a multidimensional and complex concept with strong ideological connotations. According to the narrowest and the most widely used definition in society, social inclusion occurs when people who are considered excluded adopt the norms and the standards of the community or the organization in which they find themselves. This understanding has been criticized as the dominant groups might be a threat as they can take over social control.
A broader and wider definition of inclusion understands it as a collective and a bidirectional process which involves all citizens. This way, it implies the readjustment of all parts which jointly develop a new model of coexistence. In fact, it is not a matter of changing, correcting or adapting the difference of the person, rather than enriching the entire community with it. This requires a dialogue in which everybody takes part on an equal basis, as well as in overcoming the existing differences between the hegemonic or the majority group – which has the dominant position- and the rest. Then, inclusion is also understood as an integral process considering several aspects such as legal, economic, political, educational, social, cultural and ideological, among others. In addition, if the interaction between stakeholders takes place equally and holistically, there will be a greater chance of success with the inclusion process. The result of this process would be the development of an organization (school, club, company, etc.) and an inclusive society which are in a continuous process of transformation that guarantees the full involvement and participation of all groups in the social, economic, cultural and political level.