The Role of Universities Sport in the Promotion of Social Equality and Integration


  • Rui Lacerda-Magalhães MSc. Master in Social Intervention, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences and Faculty of Economy), University of Coimbra
  • Helena Neves Almeida


Universities Sport, Social Integration, Social Equality, Social Problems, Sports Management.


This paper understands Sports as a holistic phenomenon with a fundamental role in the promotion and maintenance of well-being as an historical and social practice, connected with the construction of the world and its significances. Universities Sports plays a fundamental role in the Higher Education Institution’s governance, as well as in the life of the students who attend them and the academic community. The role of Universities Sports is analysed according to the promotion of Social Equality and Integration, in the dimensions of Social Status perception, Respect, Mutual Consideration, Concern about the Similar One, as well as in the Notions of Community, Fraternity and Solidarity. Reflexions are established upon Gender Equality, Respect for Sexual Orientation, Ethnic Diversity, Violence and Access to Goods and Opportunities. Assuming a constructivist ontological understanding and an interpretative epistemological reasoning, this investigation presents a Transnational Multiple Case-Study, comparing Universities Sport organization in Portugal and in Italy, using Mixed Methods. The main outcome establishes a close relationship between Universities Sport and the Goals of the Southern European Social States, indicating a dialog between these and the production of a welfare society. The role of Sport as a catalyst for social change is also explored, as it diverts the focus from the individual to the community level, promoting the accountability and the training of the subject for a responsible and constructive social intervention in the public and private spheres.