Managing Social Issues
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Managing Social Issues

A Public Values Perspective

Edited by Peter Leisink, Paul Boselie, Maarten van Bottenburg and Dian Marie Hosking

Western societies face complex social issues and a growing diversity of views on how these should be addressed. The traditional view focuses on government and public policy but neglects the initiatives that non-profit and private organizations and local networks take. This book presents a broader variety of viewpoints and theories. Looking at various cases, the authors analyse conflicting values and interests, actors’ understandings of the public values related to social issues, and their action to create what they regard as public value. Drawing together these perspectives the authors point the way to how government and the private and voluntary sectors can work in tandem to resolve social issues.
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Chapter 8: ‘Passion alone is no longer enough’: the reframing of elite sport from a private trouble to a public issue

Maarten van Bottenburg


From a public values perspective, sport offers a highly interesting context in which to explore and theorize upon the dynamics of public interest formation. The sports sector in many Western countries has been characterized by regulatory self-governance through autonomous voluntary non-profit organizations that have, for a considerable time, functioned outside the direct sphere of political influence. Governments have only recently ‘discovered’ the power of sport in achieving non-sport goals such as public health, social bonding and international prestige. To fulfil these public goals, governments need the cooperation of the sports sector that does not form part of the machinery of government but consists of relatively autonomous voluntary non-profit organizations with their own goals and values. Moreover, the public values associated with public policies that attempt to use the malleability of sport are not fixed, but fluid and variable. They change in accordance with broader societal processes and are contested by different groups of people and organizations both within and beyond the world of sport.

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