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Omnivorousness in sport: The importance of social capital and networks

Widdop, P and Cutts, D and Jarvie, G (2016) Omnivorousness in sport: The importance of social capital and networks. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 51 (5). pp. 596-616. ISSN 1012-6902

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Abstract

© 2014, © The Author(s) 2014. There has been for some time a significant and growing body of research around the relationship between sport and social capital. Similarly, within sociology there has been a corpus of work that has acknowledged the emergence of the omnivore–univore relationship. Surprisingly, relatively few studies examining sport and social capital have taken the omnivore–univore framework as a basis for understanding the relationship between sport and social capital. This gap in the sociology of sport literature and knowledge is rectified by this study that takes not Putnam, Coleman or Bourdieu, but Lin’s social network approach to social capital. The implications of this article are that researchers investigating sport and social capital need to understand more about how social networks and places for sport work to create social capital and, in particular, influence participating in sporting activities. The results indicate that social networks both facilitate and constrain sports participation; whilst family and friendship networks are central in active lifestyles, those who are less active have limited networks.

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