Sport is perceived to have the potential to alleviate a variety of social problems and generally to ‘improve’ both individuals and the communities in which they live. Sport is promoted as a relatively cost effective antidote to a range of social problems – often those stemming from social exclusion - including poor health, high crime levels, drug abuse and persistent youth offending, educational under-achievement, lack of social cohesion and community identity and economic decline. To this end, there is increasing governmental interest in what has become known as ‘sport for good’.
A Wider Social Role for Sport presents the political and historical context for this increased government interest in sport’s potential contribution to a range of social problems. The book explores the particular social problems that governments seek to address through sport, and examines the nature and extent of the evidence for sport’s positive role.
It illustrates that, in an era of evidence-based policy-making, the cumulative evidence base for many of these claims is relatively weak, in part because such research is faced with substantial methodological problems in isolating the precise contribution of sport in many contexts. Drawing on worldwide research, A Wider Social Role for Sport explores the current state of knowledge and understanding of the presumed impacts of sport and suggests that we need to adopt a different approach to research and evaluation if sports researchers are to develop their understanding and make a substantial contribution to sports policy..
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Sport and Social Policy: From Sport for all to Sport for Good 3. Sport and Social Impacts: Do we Need New Rules? 4. Sport and Social Regeneration: A Capital Prospect? 5. Sport-in-Development: A Global Role for Sport? 6. Sport and Education: Scoring on the Pitch and in the Classroom? 7. Sport and Crime: Getting Out of Jail? 8. Sport and Economic Impacts: Investing in Success? 9. Conclusions
Fred Coalter is Professor of Sports Policy at the University of Stirling.
He was Director of the Centre for Leisure Research at the University of Edinburgh for 13 years and has been an invited member of the Economic and Social Research Council’s strategic seminar’s on sport and recreation, as well as an influential member of many sport policy research groups including:
- The Sports Council’s Sport and Recreation Research Advisory Group,
- Sport England’s Working Group on Performance Measurement for the Development of Sport,
- Sport Scotland’s Forum on Sport and Social Inclusion,
- The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Working Groups on Defining Excellence in Sport and Recreation; Comprehensive Performance Assessment for Sport and Recreation; Neighbourhood Renewal Unit- Sport Group.
Fred Coalter is also Chair of the Board of Directors of Edinburgh Leisure Ltd, the trust which manages sport and recreation facilities for the City of Edinburgh.