Social capital, network governance and the strategic delivery of grassroots sport in England
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Authors: Adams, A.
Journal: International Review for the Sociology of Sport
© The Author(s) 2012. There has been a growing debate concerning the increasing salience of sport to government in the UK and the role and value of community-level sport policy. Much of this debate has centred on the role of voluntary sport clubs (VSCs) and the extent to which they can contribute to the creation of social capital. This paper contributes to this debate through a case study of sport policy implementation in England. The case study firstly highlights the strategic importance attached to social capital and its associated policy context and secondly presents key stakeholder interpretations of the likelihood that VSCs will act as agents of delivery. The analysis is served by three considerations. Firstly, what is the political and policy context for a strategic orientation to social capital? Secondly, how does this orientation relate to stakeholder perceptions of what VSCs do? Thirdly, how do stakeholder perceptions of what VSCs do affect their perceptions of how they do it? The analysis is informed by a series of 14 semi-structured interviews with a number of key stakeholders and a range of public documents produced by government, local authorities and regional agencies. The conclusions suggest that, firstly, the democratic form of social capital is most dominant in relation to sport policy and, secondly, that when considered alongside VSC stakeholder perceptions, then anticipated democratic social capital outcomes may become distorted and even corrupted.