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2009 | 46 | 1 | 147-156

Article title

Class or Mass: Sport (for All) Politics at a Crossroads


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Hungarian sport politics has long tradition not to accomplish the - otherwise ideal - objectives declared in the overall sport conception for the same period. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the contemporary National Sports Strategies, the contradictory character of their realization and some major conditions of the improvement of all Hungarians' involvement in sport. By way of introduction the notions of sport policy, sport politics and sport for all politics are clarified. Then the methods for collecting information (analysis of documents, in-depth interviews and participant observation) are presented. The main body of the contribution consists of three parts. Firstly a brief overview is given on the legacy on the grounds of which the current sport politics had to start from, with great emphasis of the changing role of the state, civil society and the business sector in the process of planning, developing and supporting the population's sporting activity. Secondly the today's sport policy and the true situation in sport for all are discussed according to the following dimensions: (1) the underprivileged position of sport for all; (2) the lack of the necessary co-operation between sport and other sub-systems, such as education, public health; (3) the low proportion of state aid to be given for sport; (4) the disparity of state financing between the individual fields of sport: (5) the reinforcement of the increasing social inequality in sport. Thirdly the author makes attempts to outline a developmental trend state responsibility in sport for all by answering a crucial question: Whose responsibility is it? In conclusion it is stated that historical opportunity for changing radically the traditional sport politics was missed during the last 15-20 years. The political approach to sport by the individual governments might have been different, but the very essence of their sport politics was rather similar. The core values guiding their sport politics were very positive all the time; however they have not been realized in either period. The author is of the opinion that the vision of a "sporting nation" suggested by the present-day National Sport Strategy seems to be attractive, but she calls the attention to the missing political and financial garantees that would enable to approaching it and urges to promote a more democratic, a m ore just and a truly modern turn in sport politics









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1 - 12 - 2009
31 - 12 - 2009


  • Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary


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