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Which wider social roles?

an analysis of social roles ascribed to voluntary sports clubs

Waardenburg, M. (2016). Which wider social roles?: an analysis of social roles ascribed to voluntary sports clubs. European Journal for Sport and Society 13 (pp. 38-54)

It has long been established that voluntary sports clubs (VSCs) are ascribed a prominent social role by governments. Several scholars highlight the ascribed social values in sport policy to voluntary sports clubs and their possible implications for these voluntary organizations. Most of these studies focus on national sport policies. However, several studies signal a dominant role for local government in the public funding of sport. This discrepancy between local funding responsibility and scholarly attention to national sport policy legitimizes the following question: Which social roles do local governments ascribe to voluntary sports clubs? Further, the particularities of the social values of voluntary sports clubs have received only sparse attention. Using institutional theory as a theoretical lens, this paper addresses these lacunae through a systematic document analysis of the municipal sport policies of the twenty largest Dutch municipalities. These municipalities address four different social roles for voluntary sports clubs: (1) sports clubs as social infrastructure operators, (2) sports clubs as educational institutes, (3) sports clubs as service providers, and (4) sports clubs as project implementers. The article further elaborates on these four social roles and argues that these form a normative institutional framework for VSCs.



Which wider social roles? An analysis of social roles ascribed to voluntary sports clubs

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Maikel Waardenburg

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sociaal beleid