Tales from the tracks: discourses of constraint in the use of mixed cycle and walking routes

Neil Ravenscroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the constraints facing those wishing to use non-motorized cycle and walking routes for sport and recreation activities. Using transcripts from six group interviews, the article identifies an emergent ‘discourse of constraints’, based on the development of conventional constraints models. The theoretical frame of the article is informed by Giddens’s ontological uncertainty, mediated by Beck’s work on individuation and the risk society. The article argues that, rather than being structural, as much policy implies, constraints are largely articulated in intrapersonal and interpersonal terms, as people’s response to the increasing mistrust that they experience in most external environments. As a result, the constraints can only be successfully addressed through the development of new forms of social integration that place the individual within a group or ‘ companion’ context. It is recognized that these types of social forms are at odds with wider processes in sport and recreation, in which people are shifting away from group and club affiliations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-44
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004

Bibliographical note

Copyright Sage Publications


  • outdoor activities • recreational constraints • risk • uncertainty


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