Sport and Society
SASO focuses on the study of developmental, societal and policy-related issues regarding sport involvement of various segments of the population (e.g., youth, elderly, people with disabilities, elite athletes). These issues relate to sport participation within different contexts (i.e., organised, informal and alternatively organised sport) and levels (i.e., grass root and elite sport). SASO has advanced theories and methodologies with regard to the measurement, development and enhancement of the processes and performances of sport policy and sport organizations. In relation to grass root level sport, SASO (supervised by Marc Theeboom) has developed a special interest in studying individual and social meanings of sport participation among specific 'target' groups (e.g., socially deprived youth, ethnic minorities). This interest originally resulted in conducting primarily applied and policy preparing research. In recent years, a number of doctoral studies have been initiated looking at the potential of sport for personal and social development of youth. Over the years, members of SASO have become increasingly involved in collaborative work with respected international partners regarding the topic of grass root sport and development. In relation to elite sport, SASO has developed under the supervision of Veerle De Bosscher a worldwide international research collaboration platform since 2002, reflected in the name SPLISS (Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success), involving researchers from over 20 countries. The SPLISS group is a worldwide leading network that receives growing recognition from international organizations, such as international federations, the IOC and the European Union. Under the umbrella of SPLISS, currently three PhDs are running and three joint PhDs with international partners are planned.