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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Chair of Sport Sociology

Research Areas

Photo: (c) LSB NRW | Andrea Bowinkelmann
Voluntary Engagement in Sport

The donation of time and knowledge by people engaging together in the public sphere is important for the provision of services in sport. The forms and formats of engagement range from active participation in sport-related initiatives, projects, and groups to voluntary positions in sport clubs, and different forms of participation such as in social networks in the field of sport. Against this backdrop, the Department of Sport Sociology studies the structures, actors, and forms of voluntary engagement in sport and the dynamic changes which they undergo.


Photo: (c) LSB NRW| Andrea Bowinkelmann
Sport Clubs and Federations

Besides public institutions and commercial enterprises, NPOs (such as associations and clubs) are a further important organizational form in modern society. Long time, however, they were underrated as "hybrid" organisations in a state of transition. It was not until recently that they have been rediscovered as a guarantee for democracy and welfare in civil society and as an important institution of civic self-organization. The Department of Sport Sociology does research and provides advice on basic principles, transformations, challenges and perspectives of non-profit organisations.


Photo: (c) LSB NRW | Andrea Bowinkelmann
Integration, Migration and Sport

The assumption that Sport promotes immigrant integration is a widespread. The integration of immigrants runs not always casually and automatically, though. The Department of Sport Sociology analyses how sport and especially sports clubs contribute to social integration. It conducts research on integrative and disintegrative challenges of sport, exercise and leisure culture for people with an immigrant background, as the migrant second and third generation is denominated in Germany. In doing so the Department works closely with civil society and state actors.


Photo: (c) LSB NRW | Andrea Bowinkelmann

Social Capital and Sport

Complaints as to the loss of social cohesion grow ever louder in modern liberal and individualistic societies. The social capital of a society is considered an essential resource for social integration. This social capital originates primarily in the social networks of a vibrant civil society, i.e. the clubs, projects and initiatives found in the associative environment. The Department of Sport Sociology analyses at a theoretical and empirical level the structures of social capital, mechanisms for its development, and its importance for modern society.



Photo: (c) LSB NRW | Andrea Bowinkelmann

Skills Acquisition and Sport

Sports and civic engagement are said to have an educational function. It is assumed that in sports-related contexts people can acquire socially important skills that they can transfer into other settings such as the work place. The Department of Sport Sociology looks at sports’ educational function focusing on informal learning processes and skill acquisition in and through civic engagement in sports.






Photo: (c) LSB NRW| Andrea Bowinkelmann

CSR and Sport

The shifting division of responsibility between state and society has also revived the debate on the voluntary social engagement of business in fields like sport, leisure, education, art, culture and health. The debate not only focuses on philanthropy and sponsorship. It is influenced by Anglo-American concepts such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate citizenship. The Department of Sport Sociology does research and provides advice on the facets of corporate civic engagement on the basis of basic research and application-oriented evaluation research.