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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Chair of Sport Sociology

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Department of Sport Sciences | Chair of Sport Sociology | Projects | All Projects | OSSCAR-Study: Organized Sport and Social Capital – Revisited

OSSCAR-Study: Organized Sport and Social Capital – Revisited

Project description

Based on the Germany-wide representative population survey, “The role of sports clubs in social cohesion” (Kantar Public, 2018), the OSSKAR collaborative project is an empirically based exploration of the extent to which clubs and associations, including sports clubs as the most prevalent organizational form of communitization in civil society in Germany, can contribute to the (re‑)production of “social capital” (Putnam, 1993, 2000). To investigate this general objective, the study adopts the concept of “social capital,” which has been intensively discussed and criticized since the relevant studies by Robert D. Putnam, yet also theoretically honed and developed for use in empirical research.

Based on a representative population survey (online survey, sample 18 years and older, n = 2,568) completed in January 2018, the study will identify statistical relations and regularities between different forms of participation in sports clubs and associations on the one hand, and the central dimensions of social capital on the other. These dimensions include social trust, forms of group affiliation and support services, social relations, and individual motivational resources as well as the voluntary engagement, values, and political positions of the players. The survey also recorded sociodemographic characteristics of significance in monitoring the social selectivity that precedes membership in a sports club or association.

Statistical analyses focus on comparing the individuals who participate in different forms in sports clubs with participants in other associations and individuals who are not members of any clubs or associations. At the same time, however, the statistics will be compared with a representative survey carried out among the general population and members of sports clubs in Germany in 2001 (Baur & Braun, 2003) to enable trends in individual dimensions of social capital to be mapped.


Baur, J. & Braun, S. (eds.). (2003.) Integrationsleistungen von Sportvereinen als Freiwilligenorganisationen (Integration achievements by sports clubs as volunteer organizations) Aachen: Meyer & Meyer.

Kantar Public (2018). Bedeutung von Sportvereinen für den gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt. (The significance of sports clubs for social cohesion). Methodology report on the performance of the population survey. Unpublished document, Kantar Public, Munich.

Putnam, R. (1993). Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling Alone. The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Futher informations

A collaborative project by Prof. Dr. Ulrike Burrmann (Technische Universität Dortmund), Prof. Dr. Sebastian Braun (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Michael Mutz (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen Gießen)

Duration: 2017 - 2018