SDP and social capital

Authored by: James Skinner , Geoff Woolcock , Arthur Milroy

Routledge Handbook of Sport for Development and Peace

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138210486
eBook ISBN: 9781315455174
Adobe ISBN:


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During the last two decades, there has been a concerted effort to remobilize sport as a vehicle for sustainable social development, especially in the most disadvantaged communities in the world. It is suggested that sport is a versatile and flexible developmental tool commonly associated with having the capacity to contribute to positive social capital in communities. This chapter debates the role of sport as an enabler for development, and the key role it can play in achieving positive social capital. In this sense, the chapter explores the use of sport as a vehicle for development and its potential to bring people together from different economic, social and cultural backgrounds to foster greater social cohesion and cultural tolerance through facilitating the development of social capital. A strong foundation of social capital has many benefits including the development of social networks, the creation of common bonds between disparate groups and the establishment of social norms. The challenge moving forward, however, is to provide greater empirical evidence to support this hypothesis and provide evidence to support significant investment by governments in sport for development initiatives.

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