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• Exploratory case study of ski flying volunteering in Vikersund, Norway.
• The local community is characterized by a high level of social integration.
• Ski flying is a focus of local pride and identification within the community.
• Communitas and social solidarity reinforced by resistance to outsiders’ hostility.
Much research on volunteers has focused on who the volunteers are, and what motivates them on an individual level. This study, however, aims to contextualize the long-term commitment found in a whole community of volunteers and to explain this pattern of collective volunteering not in terms of individual motivations but in terms of broader social processes. Data gathered from interviews with volunteers in Vikersund, Norway, and the analysis of local and national press coverage in the years leading up to the 2013 World Cup in Ski flying in Vikersund suggest that long-term volunteering can be understood in terms of (i) a high level of social integration (socialization, institutionalization); (ii) the creation of a collective identity focused around the ski flying hill; and (iii) the maintenance and reinforcement of strong community identity and social solidarity by local resistance to the perceived hostility of outside organizations. This focus on the broader community/social processes has implications for researchers examining sport event volunteers as well as managers of recurring sport events wishing to retain volunteers.
Journal: Sport Management Review - Volume 18, Issue 2, May 2015, Pages 256–267