Understanding participation in culture and sport: Mixing methods, reordering knowledges

Andrew Miles, Alice Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores different ways of representing and understanding cultural participation. It employs multiple correspondence analysis to look at the clustering of participation using data from the "Taking Part" survey and uses qualitative material from participation narratives to address the meanings attached to participation and cultural engagement. The authors show that contemporary lifestyles are strongly demarcated around both the fact and the nature of participation and that the clustering of particular types of activity and inactivity shows quite clearly that not taking part in highbrow cultural activities is the norm. They go on to argue that the "deficit" model of culture employed by government is unhelpful, as what matters for health and well-being appears to be participation per se and that more work is therefore required to understand the value and significance of informal and everyday cultural practices. Nevertheless, given the continuing role of culture in the inter-generational transmission of economic and social inequalities, they also call for policies to promote cultural "omnivorousness" and tackle disengagement. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-324
Number of pages13
JournalCultural Trends
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • cultural participation
  • deficit model
  • everyday cultural practices
  • multiple correspondence analysis
  • omnivore thesis


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