logo SBA


Digital archive of theses discussed at the University of Pisa


Thesis etd-07102019-212425

Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
Thesis title
Culture and organizations in grassroots sports analysis: the case of Italian and Norwegian systems
Academic discipline
Course of study
tutor Prof. Villa, Matteo
  • culture
  • organizations
  • sport
  • sport systems
  • welfare
Graduation session start date
This work aims to investigate the possible causes underlying different level of sport participation across populations. The analysis, moves from the organization of the grassroots sports systems and focuses on the role that the context and the relationships linking the actors of the system may have in determining different levels of participation in sport activities.
To this aim, I compare the Italian and Norwegian sports systems. In particular, I collect for both countries background information regarding the formal structure of the systems; the distribution of competences between public administrations and sports institutions; the public resources available; and data concerning the number of citizens involved in sports activities. The background analysis is accompanied by an in-depth qualitative analysis based on four local case studies (two per country) and on interviews conducted with representatives of local grassroots sports organisations or public institutions. The aim of the interviews is to highlight the relational models and sense-making processes that characterise each system. The study therefore aims to go beyond the observation of micro- and macro-dynamics through the inclusion of a meso perspective.
The choice to focus the analysis on sports systems and interpret them as complex organizational systems allows us to highlight how the mechanisms of inclusion and selection that characterize them are not simply determined by the abundance or scarcity of resources. Rather, sports systems emerge as complex systems of interactions, in which the relationships between the actors influence the distribution of resources, the choice of sports practices, and their accessibility. In turn, the relationships between actors are influenced and strengthened by the context in which they take place.
On the basis of the above observations, the thesis also proposes a comparison between the functioning mechanisms of sports systems and welfare systems. A notable finding of the research is that the similarities between the Italian and Norwegian systems can be traced back to the cultural framework within which the objectives of the systems themselves are defined (universalism vs. particularism). The evidence suggests that sports systems cannot be classified according to the same principles commonly used in the literature about welfare systems.