University of Twente Student Theses


Social Cohesion and Sport in Overijssel : A Social Network Analysis

Simmons, D. (2018) Social Cohesion and Sport in Overijssel : A Social Network Analysis.

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Abstract:The province of overijssel is aiming to increase social quality in overijssel. It is for this reason that they have decided to fund programs that they believe will promote social quality in the communities. For this year’s programs they have decided to focus on sports programs. While they give funding to sports clubs and sport’s programs that meet their requirements, they do not have evidence that the funding is having the desired effect of promoting social quality. This is where the University of Twente and this paper come into place. While the province spends money they believe is helping to promote social quality, they don’t have a way to back that belief up. The first step to help is to determine what social quality is and how such a thing can be monitored. After conducting a literature review, it was discovered that leading theories of social quality splits social quality into four interconnected sub-parts. Economic security, social cohesion, social inclusion and self-empowerment. Of these four, social cohesion is most often associated with sport participation, so this became the focus of this research paper. How can sport participation promote social cohesion? Delving deeper into literature, it was found that social cohesion is often defined using the concept of social capital. People can grow their social capital through their network of people they meet throughout their lives. Social capital growth leads to opportunities in education, employment and social mobility. There are two important types of social capital when it comes to sport participation, bonding and bridging capital. Bonding is the capital between close friends and family, while bridging is the relationships created by new people that can help bring you into new groups and communities. The literature showed that sport participation helped to create and develop both bonding and bridging capital, which helps to create higher levels of social cohesion. With the discoveries it was time to tackle the problem of the province, how can it be determined if their interventions in sport programs are having the desired effect of increasing social cohesion? After conducting a survey with 44 sport participants in the province, it was shown that people, who participate in sport, do in fact have social capital that they would not otherwise have if they did not participate in sport. It was also shown that the people who participated heavily in sport (3+ times in the week) had bigger social networks and capital than people who participated less. With this accomplished the paper showed that the provinces funding in sport programs was not misplaced to promote social cohesion, but maybe there is another way in which it can be visualized, to perhaps make smarter choices of where to focus sport funding. Using the idea of a social network analysis, and with additional information from the survey where the participants listed their social networks, visualizations were created to show just how sport participants create bonding and bridging capital. With a proper approach it would be possible to see the effects the sport funding has on communities and how it connects members of sports clubs to other sport clubs, cities, people and job opportunities that they would not have, if they did not participate in sport.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:02 science and culture in general, 54 computer science, 70 social sciences in general
Programme:Business Information Technology MSc (60025)
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