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Social capital development among ethnic minorities in mixed and separate sport clubs

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

During the past few decades, policymakers have had increasing expectations of sport in relation to the social integration of ethnic minorities. From a policy perspective, mixed organized sport is often advocated in order to bring people of diverse cultures in contact with each other which, in turn, is believed to foster interethnic tolerance and solidarity. At the same time, there is the perception that separate organized sport impedes the integration of ethnic minorities. However, there is little empirical underpinning to verify that mixed organized sport context offers more opportunities in generating social capital among its members in comparison with a separate sport context. By using Putnam's theory on bridging and bonding social capital as a theoretical framework, this study was aimed to examine to what extent social capital is created in both mixed and separate sport clubs among ethnic minorities in Flanders (Belgium). The findings could not support the common belief that a mixed organized sport context offers more social integrative potential to its members compared with a separate sport context. The research suggests that both types of contexts offer the opportunity to acquire social capital. Simultaneously, both forms produce different social capital. Mixed sport club members indicated more that they learnt to make contact with others, became self-confident and learnt about other ethnic groups, while members of separate sport clubs appeared to have more personal non-sport-related conversations with other members and helped each other more often outside the sporting context.
Journal: International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
ISSN: 1940-6940
Issue: 1
Volume: 4
Pages: 1-21
Publication year:2012
Keywords:organized sport, social integration
  • ORCID: /0000-0001-8055-3307/work/81720775
  • ORCID: /0000-0001-5171-5055/work/54933184
  • Scopus Id: 84859407453
  • VABB Id: c:vabb:340899