A sphere of social action and human organization that is based upon neither the market (the private sector) nor the government (the state), but upon the self-organized activities and institutions of individuals, groups, and communities. Membership of such organizations or institutions is a matter of personal choice (within, of course, the terms laid down by the voluntary organization itself). Sport at the grass-roots level is dependent upon the buoyancy of the voluntary sector, clubs, and the availability of the willing volunteer. Voluntary organizations have been widely seen as vital for the effective functioning of participatory democracy, particularly in the USA, where debates about social capital have used the decline in community-based sport as a powerful metaphor for the process of disengagement from a public life and the weakening of civil society.
Subjects: Sport and Leisure.