Intercommunity sport events: Vehicles and catalysts for social capital in divided societies

Cognizant Communication Corporation
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Event Management, 2011, 15 (2), pp. 105 - 119
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Sport events are believed to promote dialogue, integration and peaceful understanding among disparate groups, even when other forms of negotiation have not been successful (Croft, 2005; Sugden, 2006). However, the social outcomes from sport events are largely anecdotal and there is a need to empirically examine the active engagement of groups with âothersâ in participatory sport event projects (Auld & Case, 1997; Chalip, 2006). This paper investigates the potential of an intercommunity sport event in contributing to intergroup development and social capital building in the ethnically divided Sri Lanka. It follows an interpretive mode of inquiry where findings are derived from the analysis of 35 in-depth interviews with Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and international event stakeholders. By providing evidence of the varying socio-cultural experiences at the event, this paper discusses the eventâs impact on intergroup relations and its influence on the stock of social capital available to communities. Findings can assist governments, policymakers and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in advancing policies and practical measures that build on events as vehicles and catalysts for enhanced intergroup relations and the creation of social capital.
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