While sport has long been recognised to have many benefits, researchers, policy makers and politicians have recently become especially interested in the contribution it might make to strengthening community bonds and promoting active citizenship – what the present Labour Government calls ‘civil renewal’. This paper analyses data from a large number of exiting statistical studies in order to understand what light they shed on the role sport does or could play in building social capital and civil renewal.
We [in this paper] analyse both the extent of sporting participation and the level of social capital in Britain, compare the level of social capital and sporting participation in Britain with the rest of the EU, and examine the links between different types of sporting participation and individual measures of social capital. While making causal inferences from this type of analysis is not recommended, the results provide valuable benchmarking information and will be useful as a background to more experimental studies. The results demonstrate substantial correlations between measures of social capital and measures of sporting participation, both at the national level and, within Britain, at the individual level. Further analysis, controlling for several different types of individual characteristics, yields a more complex picture, with sports club membership positively affecting well-being and sociability but having little effect on political participation and personal trust.
Editor's comments - [ This paper looks in particular at the role of sport in the context of the development of social capital. It takes a broad view of what constitutes sport, including physical activity more widely as well as organised sporting activities.
The authors say that It has been suggested that sport has an important role to play in the civil renewal agenda, in particular because of its ability to foster social capital. There are a number of ways it is said to do this: it is often a social activity and membership of sports clubs and groups is one of the key forms of associational life identified by Putnam as being important for social capital; sports groups create networks which extend beyond the participants themselves, for instance among groups of parents or supporters of a local team, or volunteers who help run an activity; finally sport plays a valuable role in building shared identities, creating a bond between different groups of people together as supporters of a national, regional or local team. ] Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>
In the text: Cryer (year)
Reference : Delaney, L. Keaney, E. (2005). Sport and social capital in the United Kingdom: Statistical evidence from national and international survey data. London: IPPR
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