English title: Sports in Civil Society: Networks, Social Capital and Influence

Author(s): Ørnulf Seippel -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2008

Abstract

Sports represent the largest category of voluntary organizations in many European countries. This article addresses questions concerning the position, centrality and influence of sports organizations as one specific part of civil society, and is based on an approach providing information on networks between categories of organizations. These networks consist of overlapping affiliations to organizations which are then interpreted as structures making communication, persuasion and influence possible. From these networks, position, centrality and potential influence of sports organizations in civil society are analysed. The article also looks more specifically at the links between sports and seven other types of voluntary organizations. The data is based on Norwegian surveys from 1982, 1990, and 2003, providing the possibility to follow sports organizations over a period of 20 years. The results show that sports organizations are influential due to size, but relatively weakly embedded and positioned in civil society. This position is, however, strengthened compared to most other organizations during the last 20 years. Regarding the relation of sports to other specific organizations some type of ‘normalization’ seems to have taken place, and sports are socially ‘closer’ to most organizations in 2003 than in 1982.

Volume: 24

Issue: 1

From page no: 69

To page no: 80

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1093/ESR/JCM035

Journal: European Sociological Review

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