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Completed project

Sport democracy: participation and discourse

Project period 2005 - 2007
Project nr. 413.056

Does sport democracy function according to its intentions within the complex inter-relations between civil, public and market interests? This issue constitutes the outset of this project.
Sport in is coordinated through the national umbrella organization The Norwegian Confederation of Sports. This organization has to serve the interests of mass-sport local associations, but also those of a set of specialized elite sports with athletes competing internationally. The most important partners of sport organizations are the public authorities, and primarily the state which injects over 1 milliard kr. each year to realize sport related objectives.
Democracy can be thought as a mean to reach agreement upon the distribution of a common good. On a theoretical level it is usual to distinguish between a numerical and a discursive conception of democracy. An additional moment, especially when it comes to organizational democracy, is constituted by the issue of representation.
With this background the project will examine three aspects of organizational democracy:
First, the numerical dimension: how many members participate in decision-making, discussions and votes? The relationship between those who can participate and those who actually participate constitute an important indicator of whether democracy functions according to its intentions.
Second, the representative dimension: in order to the higher instance within the decision-making pyramid to take into account grassroots’ interests it is necessary that the representative system functions.
Third, the discursive dimension: this dimension concerns the issues on the agenda are object for opinion formation, the individuals or groups that express opinions, the kind of arguments are used and the kind of arguments that obtain support.


Bernard Enjolras PhD Research Professor, Director Center for research on civil society and voluntary sector +47 976 89 237 Send e-mail
Published June 24, 2008 3:54 PM