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Governing by numbers: the homogenization and standardization of sport club activities through policy implementation systems
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2016 (English)In: Book of Abstract EASS 2016: Sport in the City – Mobility, Urbanity and Social Change / [ed] Adam B. Evans, Glen Nielsen, Lone Friis Thing and Laila Ottesen, Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sport 2016 , 2016, 55-55 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This abstract reports on a study of the implementation of a digitalized reporting system for local authority financial support to voluntary and membership-based sport club activities. It focuses on consequences of the implementation for sport clubs’ organisation, leadership and activities by drawing on data from qualitative and semi-structured interviews with 43 sport club representatives representing 20 sport clubs in four Swedish municipalities. Respondents and clubs were strategically sampled based on characteristics recognized in the literature as influential in sport policy implementation (e.g. May, Harris & Collins, 2013). The background of this interest is the focus in existing literature on policy content in general and specifically on the implementation of policies with the content of aiming at widening the social role for sport (e.g. Coalter, 2007). While valuable in our understanding of the implementation of social policies in sport, such studies have limited power in furthering our understanding of sport policy implementation per se. So by building on the argument put forward by Stenling and Fahlén (2014) that sport clubs’ propensity to act as policy implementers are contingent on an alignment between what a sport club is actually doing and what any given policy asks of it, this particular study aimed at examining the implementation of a policy tool seemingly devoid of policy content in order to be able to zoom in more on the consequences of the actual implementation process. Results show how the implementation process itself contributes to homogenizing sport clubs’ activities (cf. Sjöblom & Fahlén, 2010) and to standardizing what sport ‘is’ and ‘is not’ (cf. Fahlén, 2015). By extension, it contributes to limiting access for participants and volunteers in direct contravention of local as well as national sport policy goals. These findings are discussed in the light of recent debates on measures for increased sport participation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sport 2016 , 2016. 55-55 p.
Keyword [en]
policy implementation; local government; sport clubs; sport policy; sport governance
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-120490ISBN: 9788791771644OAI: diva2:928998
13th European Sport Sociology Congress. 4-7 May 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark
Available from: 2016-05-17 Created: 2016-05-17 Last updated: 2016-09-05Bibliographically approved

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