Denmark: High Participation at the Expense of Democratic and Social Engagement?

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Voluntary organised sports in Denmark is characterised by relatively high participation rates among both children and adults, indicating that Danish sports clubs have a significant potential to contribute to public welfare. In this chapter, the contribution of Danish clubs to four societal functions is examined. The results show that Danish clubs contribute to health promotion, social integration, democratic decision-making and involvement as well as voluntary work, but, most often, the clubs do not work strategically to accomplish or promote these contributions. This is illustrated by the findings that relatively few Danish clubs offer health-enhancing programmes, work strategically to increase the participation of socially vulnerable groups or have strategies to recruit and retain volunteers. The contribution of Danish clubs to public welfare lies mainly in connection to the sports and social activities offered by the clubs that are open to the general public and in which many Danes are active. Four potential explanations for these mixed findings are elaborated in the chapter, including the role of the good framework conditions provided for Danish clubs, the few political demands attached to relatively generous public funding schemes, the existence of many small clubs and the potential trade-off between participation and engagement.
Translated title of the contributionKapitel 4: Danmark: Høj deltagelse på bekostning af demokratisk og socialt engagement
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFunctions of Sports Clubs in European Societies : A Cross-National Comparative Study
EditorsSiegfried Nagel, Karsten Elmose-Østerlund, Bjarne Ibsen, Jeroen Scherder
Publication dateAug 2020
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-48534-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-48535-1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
SeriesSports Economics, Management and Policy

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