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WEBINAR: Professor Joseph D. Lewandowski: Sport and Social Capital?

December 17, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm CST


Invited Speaker

Professor Joseph D. Lewandowski

Professor of Philosophy at the University of Central Missouri (USA)

Certificate of attendance available

Studies in social capital, as well as many NGO initiatives and related policy-driven government programs in the area of community development, often appeal to the causal power of participation in sport to generate the kinds of generalized trust, ties, and networks that make for more cohesive and prosperous communities and, indeed, more democratic societies. In fact, Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone (2001) takes as the centerpiece of its argument the notion that participation in bowling clubs in the United States contributed, in no small way, to the diversifying and strengthening of community and ‘making democracy work’ in America. In this way sport is often construed as a mechanism for the production of generalized trust and, more specifically, ‘bridging social capital’, among various ethnoracial and socioeconomic groups.

With a focus on bowling and boxing, this webinar scrutinizes the ostensible ‘bridging’ functions of sport in an effort to make explicit the limits of what participation in sport can be expected to contribute to the development of cohesive but diverse communities and a democratic way of life. As an alternative account, it is argued that sport is best understood as a complex site of horizontal and vertical sociability. The extent to which the forms of sociability emergent in bowling alleys and boxing clubs are capitalized in ways that foster diverse communities and shared habits of democracy remains an open question. For participation in sport characteristically does not produce generalized trust and social capital but rather reproduces and reinforces the presence (or impoverishment) of such resources along ethnoracial and socioeconomic lines.



About the presenter:

Joseph D Lewandowski is an educator, researcher and author whose work focuses on sport, social capital, and inequality in the urban milieu. The former holder of the Fulbright-Masaryk Distinguished Chair in Social Studies (Czech Republic), Lewandowski currently serves as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Central Missouri (USA). He is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport and a working group fellow at the Legatum Institute. Among his many publications in social capital theory, Lewandowski is the author of ‘Sport, Trust, and Social Capital’ (Comparative Sociology), co-editor of Trust and Transitions: Social Capital in a Changing World and, more recently, Urban Social Capital: Civil Society and City Life. His work has been published in German, Czech, and Polish, and appears in journals such as Theory, Culture, and Society, Journal of Poverty, Journal of Social Philosophy, Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Philosophy and Social Criticism, and elsewhere. Lewandowski’s current book in the philosophy and sociology of sport, On Boxing: Critical Interventions in the Bittersweet Science (Routledge, 2022), explores the cultural and philosophical dimensions of professional pugilism, and includes an extended discussion of boxing and social capital.


About Our Webinar Series

This event is part of our regular webinar sessions for social capital researchers including PhD/master students. These sessions include invited presentations from prominent scholars as well as presentations by PhD students and experts in professional practice.

For social capital researchers, these sessions are an opportunity to hear about the latest social capital research and insights from scholars working on the concept. They can be a great way to connect with people, to get advice, discuss ideas or issues, get suggestions for literature to read, or you can just listen.

Are you researching social capital and want to present your research? Click here for more information and to submit a proposal.

Generally, presentations can be 20 to 30 mins. The content of your presentation will depend on your research stage.


December 17, 2021
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm CST



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