chapter  5
22 Pages

Scaling Up? Sport and Linking Social Capital

Most sports researchers consider the main source of social capital to reside in voluntary associations rather than in state institutions (Long 2008: 209). Nevertheless, fostering durable linkages with institutional agents is potentially critical to reduce social and economic disadvantage (Woolcock 2001; Stanton-Salazar 1997). Chapters 2 and 3 show that the social impacts of the sports activities being studied need to be understood within the context of, inter alia, the role of public institutions in the lives of local residents. In some cases this role can be described as what Wacquant (1998) calls “the erosion of state social capital,” that is, the decline and/or withdrawal of formal organizations presumed to provide civic goods and services. The social control perspective discussed in Chapter 3 highlights how public institutions may stigmatize, control or exclude disadvantaged young people in ways that refl ect a lack of “bureaucratic respect” (Sennett 2003). For Wacquant (1998: 35), state structures and policies play “a decisive role” in the formation and distribution of social capital. The state, through supportive and creative action at various levels, may be able to nurture an environment which fosters vibrant community social capital. As Evans (1996: 1122) contends, social capital inheres “not just in civil society, but in an enduring set of relationships that span the public-private divide” (cf. Putnam 1993; Field 2008).