Social Capital

Social capital is defined as “the features of social life- networks, norms and trust- that enables participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives” (Putnam, 1995, 664-665). This concept is based on equality, engaged citizenship and inclusion that undermines the positive implications surrounding sport (Vermeulen & Verwell, 2009). Putnam’s (1995) research showed that by having a trusting community, where residents don’t only know one another but are involved in each other’s lives can achieve a strong community and a higher social capital (Schaefer-McDaniel, 2004). Moreover, Coleman (1990) focuses his research on family, community and cohesion where parents use their own social capital to enhance their children’s social capital through education and culture, he defines that “social capital is any kind of social relationship that is a resource to the person”. Sport has an important role in creating social capital as it allows communities to develop trust, openness and respect all the different individuals in the group, this is shown in the Sporting Equals development programme. This can increase social cohesion and unity in the communities. Putnam (2001) explains that there are two mechanisms which allow participation in sport to create social capital. The first is bonding which is created between people who participate in the activity together, which is shown in Sporting Equals as young children from different ethnic backgrounds are brought together to participate in a range of sports. The second is bridging which is used to create an identity and a feeling of belonging for those who are participating creating the overall community to feel a sense of civic pride (Heidary, Amiri, Ehsani & Kenari, 2012).




Coleman, J, S. (1990). “How Worksite Schools and other Schools Reforms can Generate Social Capital: An Interview with James Coleman.” American Federation of Teachers. 35-45.

Heidary, A., Amiri, M., Ehsani, M., & Kenari, B, A. (2012). Social Capital: A Multidimensional Binding Link in the Sport Communities. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences. 2(2), 2222-6990.

Maya-groupme. (2017). Social Capital Image. Retrieved from on the 5th March 2017.

Putnam, R, D. (1995). Tuning in, tuning out: The strange disappearance of social capital in America. Political Science and Politics. 28(4), 664-683.

Putnam, R, D. (2001). “Social capital. Measurement and consequences.” Canadian Journal of Policy Research. 2, 41-51.

Schaefer-McDaniel, N, J. (2004). Conceptualizing Social Capital among Young People: Towards a New Theory. Children, Youth and Environment. 14, 1546-2250.

Vermeulen, J., & Verwell, P. (2009). Participation in sport: bonding and bridging as identity work. Sport participation, social inclusion and social change. 12(9), 1206-1219.


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