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An Evaluation of the Legacies of Sporting Mega Events on Social Capital in Greece (LegacieSocialCapGR)
Start date: Sep 1, 2013, End date: Aug 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This study aims to examine the social legacies of the Olympic Games and other sporting mega events in Greece and more specifically focuses on the impacts and legacies that such events can have on social capital as an important aspect in maintaining a productive and lively society. Roche (1994, p. 1) describes mega events as “short-term events with long-term consequences”. This description points clearly to the economic as well as political, social and cultural motives that persuade cities and countries to bid for the hosting of events such as the Olympic Games. One of the problems of evaluating legacy impacts across a range of dimensions (e.g. social, cultural, health, environmental and economic) is that there is an inevitable pressure to convert these dimensions into a single economic and ‘tangible’ measure to facilitate the evaluation of performance. However, defining ‘legacy’ is problematic especially if conceived as an entirely predictable or measurable set of objectives. Studies on the social impacts and mega events are very limited, while research evidence on mega events and the social impacts in relation to certain activities (such as volunteering) or marginal social groups (such as immigrants) has been even rarer. Especially the impact of sporting mega events in enhancing social capital (e.g. through the development of a sense of place and community pride) is largely unresearched. This project aims to address this absence in the relevant literature and to provide further knowledge through rigorous theory-informed research and scholarship. There are two major research questions: 1) What are the impacts of sporting mega events on social capital? (Positive or negative)/ do they generate short-term or long-term legacies? 2) How sporting mega events affect the social capital of specific groups? a) How volunteering affects individuals? b) To what extent sporting mega events have an impact on the social capital of marginal populations such as immigrants?

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