Reflections from CrossFitters on the themes of body and community

by Arild Boge, Ove Olsen Sæle, & Hilde Stokvold Gundersen

Vol. 13 2022, pages 85–110
Published June 9, 2022


CrossFit is a form of training and competition that has boomed in recent years. It is part of a fitness culture with a strong focus on the body and appearance, a trend that has become prevalent in today’s society. This study closely examined the reflections of CrossFitters based on the following research question: What are the reflections of a selection of CrossFitters with regard to body ideals, body-image pressure and community? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a selection of participants (five women and five men) who train at a CrossFit centre in Norway. A qualitative, theory-based content analysis was used whereby the theory dictated the categorisation into the following main categories: body pressure, body ideals and community. Our results showed that the participants primarily associate the body with functionality, health and athletic performance. Several of the participants openly acknowledge that they desire a fit body, but that this is not the most important goal, merely a possible side effect of the training. The participants appear to be highly dedicated to the CrossFit culture, which is perceived as being an identity marker for performance development, training satisfaction and solidarity. The conclusion of the study is that the unique training form and architectural design of CrossFit, as well as the possibility to participate regardless of body size, shape or skill level within a committed and supportive community, appear to contribute to little body-image pressure and less focus on the ideal body.

Click here to read this peer reviewed article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum, Vol. 13, 2022

About the authors

ARILD BOGE was an Assistant Professor at the Sports Section at NLA University College in Bergen, Norway. Teacher, college lecturer and section leader in Physical Education within kindergarten education, primary school education and Sports basic subjects. Research project addressing crossfit / functional fitness as a form of exercise and activity. The article is published post mortem for Arild Boge.

OVE OLSEN SÆLE is a Professor at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Education, Arts and Sports, campus Bergen. His interests focus on educational, ethical and philosophical discussions related to Sport and to Physical Education in school and kindergarten.

HILDE STOKVOLD GUNDERSEN is an Associate Professor at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Education, Arts and Sports, campus Bergen. She has a PhD in neuroscience. Her research is mainly related to talent development in sports and to the connection between physical activity and cognitive function.



“Mission impossible”? How a successful female cross-country skier managed a dual career as a professional athlete and medical student: A case study

by Max Bergström, Guro Strøm Solli, Øyvind Sandbakk
& Stig Arve Sæther

Vol. 13 2022, pages 57–83
Published March 21, 2022


The aim of the present case study is to illuminate the factors contributing to the initiation, maintenance and discontinuation of the dual career of a Norwegian world-class athlete and medical student. We additionally aimed to highlight contextual factors facilitating and impeding the dual career development. The participant Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen was a Norwegian student-athlete in the 2005–2020 period when she concurrently achieved 10 FIS World Championship medals, one Olympic medal, and 43 World Cup podiums in cross-country skiing. Day-to-day training diary data, study load and progress, performance, and interviews were analysed. In most years, the participant’s annual training volume was c. 800–900 hrs/year. No significant differences in athletic performance were seen between the years with full-time studies, part-time studies, and study breaks. The participant Jacobsen experienced conflicting schedules and a lack of dual career support from stakeholders as the major challenges. Hence, the present single-case study provides unique data on the process and management of a dual career.

Click here to read this peer reviewed article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum, Vol. 13, 2022

About the authors

MAX BERGSTRÖM works as a research assistant in the project “The female athlete” at the Swedish Winter Sport Research Centre (NVC) and Mid Sweden University (MIUN). His previous research has been focused on lifelong participation in sport (LLP) and communication barriers between female athletes and their coaches related to the menstruation cycle. Bergström has continued his research on the topic Dual Careers (DC) and is currently working with a study about mother-athletes in Scandinavian cross-country skiing.

GURO STRØM SOLLI is associate professor of sport science at the Faculty of Education and Art at Nord University. Her primary research field is performance development in endurance sports with a special focus on cross-country skiing. Solli is the leader of the research group Performance development in cross-country skiing and biathlon (PULS) at Nord University’s campus in Meråker.

ØYVIND SANDBAKK is professor at the Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and director of the Centre for Elite Sports Research. His research aims to improve the understanding of sport performance, among other things by investigating integrative physiology and biomechanics, the effects of strength and endurance training, as well as the utilization of new technology to gain further understanding of these aspects in real-life environments.

STIG ARVE SÆTHER is an associate professor in sport science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Sociology and Political science. Main research interests are talent development, youth sport and sport psychology. His largest research project is a longitudinal 10-year follow-up study. Sæther is head of the research group Skill and Performance Development in Sport and School, head of the sports science staff, and head of education at Department of Sociology and Political science.


Characteristics of voluntary sports clubs with targeted initiatives for underrepresented population groups: The role of organisational goals, resources, structure and context

by Karsten Elmose-Østerlund, Svenja Feiler, Christoph Breuer, Jenny Adler Zwahlen & Siegfried Nagel

Vol. 13 2022, pages 29–55
Published March 6, 2022


Even though voluntary sports clubs are expected to play an important role in accomplishing the political goal to deliver ‘sport for all’, a number of population groups remain underrepresented in organised sport. Considering this, the aim of this article is to identify organisational characteristics of sports clubs that work strategically to integrate underrepresented population groups by offering targeted initiatives. Logistic regression analyses were conducted using survey data from more than 30,000 sports clubs in nine European countries. Factors within all the four included aspects of organisational characteristics (goals, resources, structure and context) were found to be relevant for the implementation of targeted initiatives. The results also revealed that it was mainly the same factors that were significantly correlated with the propensity of clubs to offer targeted initiatives across all three examined population groups: people with disabilities, people with a migration or ethnic minority background, and people on a low income. In particular, the existence of integration-related goals and service-oriented goals regarding long-term planning (organisational goals) as well as paid staff and paid management (organisational resources) were positively correlated with the presence of targeted initiatives. Regarding organisational characteristics and context, large, young, multisport clubs located in an urban setting were found to be more inclined to offer targeted initiatives. Having identified a number of club-related factors relevant for the presence of targeted initiatives, our study can inform policy implementation that seek to increase participation of underrepresented population groups in organised sport.

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About the authors

KARSTEN ELMOSE-ØSTERLUND is an Associate Professor in sports sociology at the University of Southern Denmark. He has a master’s degree in sports science and political science. Karsten’s primary research topics include sports participation and movement habits; the organisation of sport, including sports clubs; and social integration in sport. He was the project leader for the European research project ‘Social Inclusion and Volunteering in Sports Clubs in Europe’ from which this article originates.

SVENJA FEILER is a researcher at the Institute of Sport Economics and Sport Management at the German Sport University Cologne. She holds a diploma degree in Business Administration and a Master degree in Sport Management (M.Sc.). She is responsible for managing a large-scale panel study on nonprofit sports clubs in Germany, the Sport Development Report. Her main research interests are nonprofit sports organizations, nonprofit sports clubs’ finances, and sport development.

CHRISTOPH BREUER is a Full Professor in sport management at the German Sport University Cologne. He has a master’s degree in sports science, economics and pedagogy. Christoph’s primary research topics include organisation and finance of sport, including sports clubs. He is the project leader for the German Sport Development Report and founding member of the European Sports Economics Association.

JENNY ADLER ZWAHLEN is research assistant at the Special Department for Integration and Prevention of the Federal Office for Sport in Magglingen (Switzerland). She did her doctorate on the topic of ‘Social integration of people with migration background in organized sports’ at the Institute of Sport Science at the University of Bern. During this time, she has been involved in the project ‘Social Inclusion and Volunteering in Sports Clubs in Europe’.

SIEGFRIED NAGEL is a Full Professor at the University of Bern and Director of the Institute of Sport Science. His main fields of interest are sport organisation research, particularly in sports clubs and federations, as well as sport participation research. He is the leader of several research projects in sport sociology and sport management that mainly focus on social integration in organised sport, sport club development, volunteering and professionalisation.


‘I’m a woman who can kick ass!’ Practices, meanings, and corporeality in female gym-goers

by Aexis Sossa Rojas

Vol. 13 2022, pages 1–27
Published February 1, 2022


The purpose of this article is to understand how frequent female gym-goers work out in different gyms in Amsterdam, how they understand and live their bodies, and what working on their bodies means to them. Based on a qualitative study, data were collected from twelve months of fieldwork with eight women from different nationalities. My findings contribute to the work of Physical Cultural Studies by arguing how gym-going for these women form a complex and diverse cultural practice through which both personal and bodily experiences, meanings, and subjectivities become dialectically connected to, and negotiated through, broader socio-cultural contingencies, where gender stereotypes are not only reproduced but, at the same time, are also negotiated and subverted. The women in this article help us to understand that they are not necessarily victims of social pressures, nor are they in search of the perfect body since their adherence to training can also re-enact a space of agency and empowerment. Gym-going for them is not necessary liberating nor oppressive. It is related to the social context and to the individual’s awareness of their agency in negotiating their actions and perceptions at the gym.

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ALEXIS SOSSA is a fellow researcher at the Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA), hosted by the University of Amsterdam. In 2021 he received his PhD from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His PhD dissertation focuses on gym culture and embodiment. Alexis is a sociologist with expertise in qualitative studies. His research interests concern the development of interpretive sociological/anthropological understandings of the body–self–society relationship in different fields, but mainly of sport and physical culture.


Hvad sker der når gade­idræt bliver organiseret væk fra gaden? Konsekvenser af en større organisering for gadeidræt som bevægelsesform og kulturfænomen

by Magnus Kolind & Lars Domino Østergaard

Vol. 12 2021, pages 183–213
Published December 13, 2021


What happens when street sports are organized away from the street? Consequences of the greater organization for street sports as movement and culture phenomenon

In Demark, lifestyle sports as parkour, skateboarding and street basketball are as street sports characterized as self-organized activities with an alternative movement practice, which are performed in city spaces at street level, and often is related with a specific cultural practice. Due to an enhanced interest in street sports during the last decades, these types of activities are becoming more organized and have been moved from the city spaces into more formalized in-door facilities. To gain insight in the development of street sports and what impact this development have had for the sport, this qualitative multi case study investigates the consequences of the greater organization for street sports as movement and culture phenomenon.

With inspiration in a narrative approach, the data is collected through individual semi-structured interviews with six street sports organizations: Concrete Culture, GAME, House of Concrete, Street Movement, The Boss and The National Platform for Street Sports. Based on the development in organization of street sports, this study has identified determinants, which have consequences for street sports as movement and culture phenomenon, including consequences for the original culture and values of street sports. Despite the greater organization, street sports in Denmark are not necessarily in a locked and stagnated position. Therefore, based upon discussion of our findings, street sports have not been organized away from the street, but are still a dynamic and developing phenomenon, which from a street perspective can influence the development and help create innovation in greater organized communities and organizations. 

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About the Authors

MAGNUS KOLIND has a master’s degree in Sports Science from Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University. Researching lifestyle and street sports, and cultural analysis of sports, his primarily research interest includes new tendencies in street sports and sports clubs, including how a sports culture can create and develop social communities. He has experiences of street sports as street basketball player and volunteer, instructor, team leader and project coordinator in sports clubs, DGI and GAME.

LARS DOMINO ØSTERGAARD, ph.d., is an Associate Professor at the Department for Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University. Researching joy of movement, motivation, and mental well-being due to sports and other forms of physical activity, his primary research interest is how it is possible to motivate children and adolescent to be more physical active, and how joy of movement can affect engagement and learning in for example physical education and in lifestyle sports. He has recently evaluated Street Attack Tour, which was a Danish lifestyle project hosted by DGI, where especially students’ interest and engagement in lifestyle sport as a part of their physical education were investigated. As a researcher at Aalborg University, he is a senior member of the research group Sport and Social Issues.

Swedish soccer coaches’ experiences and application of physical training in male elite soccer: A qualitative content analysis study

by Jonas Larsson, M Charlotte OlssonAnn Bremander & Ingrid Larsson

Vol. 12 2021, pages 159–181
Published November 8, 2021


In elite soccer, training becomes more systematic and soccer clubs try to optimise their physiological training programs. Previous research has investigated many aspects of soccer, but research into the coaches’ own experiences and continuous improvement of physical training is lacking. The aim of this study was to describe the coaches’ experiences and their application of physical training in male elite soccer. The design of the study was explorative and based on a qualitative content analysis with an abductive approach based on a custom version of the four-step quality model—the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle. Fifteen elite soccer coaches in Sweden were interviewed. The result showed that physical training in male elite soccer is an ongoing, continuously improving process that contains four different categories: 1) planning, containing gained experiences, teamwork, and lack of resources; 2) executing with different training methods, weekly rotation, and individual training; 3) evaluating containing monitor training load and physiological testing, and 4) improving with search for knowledge and long-term development. The coaches try to absorb new knowledge and continuously improve their training methods, although lack of resources sometimes does not allow them to introduce new training

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JONAS LARSSON has a master in Sport Science, Halmstad University. Larsson is currently a doctoral student in physiology at Lund University, Faculty of Medicine, and has an academic background in exercise biomedicine – health and performance. In his current research, he is focusing on cardiovascular demands on soldiers performing their tasks in simulated combat. Larsson is affiliated to the Swedish Armed Forces and Halmstad University.

M. CHARLOTTE OLSSON is an Associate Professor in Exercise Physiology at the Department of Environmental and Biosciences at Halmstad University. Her research is focused on exercise as medicine in chronic diseases, and physical training for athlete performance optimization.

ANN BREMANDER is a Physiotherapist and Professor in rheumatology rehabilitation. Her research focus include rehabilitation interventions where physical activity and lifestyle are of special interest. She has published epidemiological studies, methodological studies  as well as qualitative studies.

INGRID LARSSON is a Registered Nurse, PhD, and Associate Professor in nursing. Her research focuses on different perspectives of health and lifestyle. She has performed qualitative studies as well as intervention studies including children, adolescents, and adults, with chronic physical and mental health conditions.


Kroppsøving og idrett i Norge – overlappende men distinktive felt

by Eivind Å. Skille & Kjersti Mordal Moen

Vol. 12 2021, pages 135–157
Published October 6, 2021


Physical education and sport in Norway – overlapping but distinctive fields

Organized and voluntary sport and the school subject physical education have historically been tightly interwoven in Norway. In this study, organized and voluntary sport and physical education are considered as two fields as described by Bourdieu, in the search for answering the research question: How can physical education and sport be understood as overlapping and distinctive fields? In order to answer the question, we analysed the two last steering documents in each field; the curriculum in physical education from 2015 and 2020, and the sport policy documents of 2015 and 2019 (the latter referred to as a long-term plan) from The Norwegian Confederation of Sports.

The two main findings of the analysis are, first, that the historical relationship where sport is the dominant part is still identifiable in the contemporary steering documents. The overlaps between the fields can be explained by several and interdependent causes: one is that many of the same actors operate in both fields – sports people are physical education teachers and physical education teacher educators; moreover, the establishment of the physical education field was initiated by powerful people in the sport field. In that respect, it has been a mode of doxa that physical education to a large degree has resembled sport. However, second, we identified an emancipation process in the field of physical education; there are formulations in the steering documents supported by other research, indicating heterodoxic discussions within the physical education field, leading to change. All in all, we identified two fields with various levels of maturity.

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About the Authors

EIVIND Å. SKILLE is Professor of Sport Sociology with the Section for sports and physical education, Department of public health and sport sciences, Faculty of social and health sciences, Inland Norway university of applied sciences. Skille teaches and researches in sport policy and politics, sport organization and organizing, and sports participation. He serves on the advisory board of the International Sociology of Sport Association, the Editorial boards of International Review for the Sociology of Sport and the International Journal of Sports Policy and Politics. Recently, he has focused his research into Sámi (an Indigenous people of the North Calotte) sports, and the national culture of Norwegian elite sports.

KJERSTI MORDAL MOEN is Professor in Physical Education at the Section for sports and physical education, Department of public health and sport sciences, Faculty of social and health sciences, Inland Norway university of applied sciences (INN). Moen teaches at the Physical Education Teacher Education programme (PETE), and do research in the field of PETE and PE. She is leading the research group «Teaching and Learning in Physical Education” at INN, and she serves on the Editorial board in Journal for research in arts and sports education.

Using “good” as feedback – meaningless or meaningful in sports contexts? A comment on praise and feedback on the personal level

by Katarina Lundin

Vol. 12 2021, pages 113–134
Published September 23, 2021

Foto: Anders Andersson/Studentlitteratur AB


An issue in sports contexts as well as other educational contexts has been whether feedback on the personal level, often in the shape of praise, contributes to the progression of the practitioners’ skills. This article examines whether PEH teachers’ feedback on the personal level, using the word good, in specific contexts actually can contribute to crucial progress and empowerment of the pupils/practitioners. The empirical material consists of video- and audio-documentation from training sessions in athletics, jujutsu, and gymnastics, and from preparatory classes in Physical Education and Health, where the pupils were newly arrived immigrants in Sweden. As a complement, observations were made and documented in writing. In the analysis, Basil Bernstein’s superordinate concept code is used, which includes the principles classification and framing. A strong classification results in exclusion, whereas a weak classification can open up with respect to content. Correspondingly, a strong framing precludes, whereas a weak framing opens up towards a broadened and changeable concept. A strong classification and framing results in a separated code, whereas a weak classification and framing results in an integrated code. The integrated code is manifested in a shift in the balance of power and a loosened division of control between the teacher of the preparatory class and his pupils. Furthermore, the integrated code opens up for empowerment and the development of an identity, which per se contributes to a progression and development of the pupils. 

The conclusion is that, under specific circumstances, using good as feedback, in the shape of praise and on the personal level, is meaningful. It can even be considered effective, positive, and useful in certain sports contexts and aims at developing an identity rather than performance skills and at empowering practitioners. Feedback on the personal level does not primarily contribute to the progression and development of sport-specific skills of the practitioners, but its contribution to the empowerment of the practitioners, on the other hand, is obvious.

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KATARINA LUNDIN is an Associate Professor in Scandinavian Linguistics, Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University, and Guest Researcher at the Department of Sport Science, Linnaeus University, Sweden. Her research is focused on language use in sport contexts inside and outside school, on the one hand, and grammar and applied linguistics, on the other. In addition, she is involved with Swedish teacher education at Lund University.

Talentutvikling via studieprogrammet idrettsfag: En retrospektiv studie av unge fotballspilleres opplevelse av å kombinere videregående skole og satsning på en fotballkarriere

by Stig Arve Sæther, Anders Nygaard, Bjørn Tore Johansen & Martin Erikstad

Vol. 12 2021, pages 85–111
Published May 10, 2021


Talent development at upper secondary school: A retrospective study of youth football players experience of combining school and football

The purpose of this study was to gain insight into how young football players experience combining sports-related upper secondary education with being a player at a high national level. More specifically, this study will look at players’ experience of the opportunity to complete a “dual career” (Stambulova & Wylleman, 2015) in the form of time and facilitation of investment in both football and school, and regulation of organized training in the form of deliberate practice (Ericsson et al., 1993) to optimize players’ opportunities for development as football players. The participants consist of eight informants who have all attended a sports study program in upper secondary school and were included in the senior squad of a club in Norwegian top football. The informants were interviewed about their experience of how it affected their development as football players. The results showed that the players’ motives for choosing a sports discipline were mainly based on sporting motives and to a lesser extent school-related, where in many ways they consider the sports program study program only as a tool to prioritize football and increase their commitment to a football career. The players also described a large degree of facilitation for sporting development with a holistic approach, although they sometimes describe large amounts of training, which they perceived as positive for their development, but also as a tough physical strain. The results showed a clear difference in favor of the best players who had a better organized everyday life compared to players with a lower skill level. Even though the school tried to facilitate the school subjects, this arrangement worked, according to the players, somewhat worse than the sporting one. An important function in this context was that the players had a contact person between the club and the school, who arranged between the two parties, to some frustration among the teachers according to the players, who perceived that the facilitation went too far. It may seem that the sports-related fields of study fulfill their purpose of facilitation, but mainly on the basis of the sporting and to a lesser extent in relation to the school subjects, with the exception of the study-specific subjects.

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STIG ARVE SÆTHER is an Associate Professor in sport science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Sociology and Political science. Main research interests; talent development, youth sport and sport psychology. His largest research project is a longitudinal 10-year follow-up study. Sæther is head of the research group: Skill and Performance Development in Sport and School.

ANDERS NYGAARD has a master’s degree in sport science from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Sociology and Political science. Nygaard is also a semi-professional football player in the OBOS-league club Stjørdals-Blink Sports Club.

BJØRN TORE JOHANSEN, PhD, is a Professor of sport sciences in the Faculty of Health & Sport Sciences, University of Agder. His areas of expertise are sport & exercise psychology, teaching and learning in higher education, and qualitative research methods. He is a member of the research group SEP-HEP (Sport and Exercise Psychology: Health, Education, and Performance).

MARTIN ERIKSTAD is a postdoctoral researcher at Faculty of Health & Sport Sciences at University of Agder. His research interests are centered around factors influencing athletes` development and participation, and covers topics such as expertise development, group dynamics and coaching. Martin is also a member of the research group SEP-HEP.

“I bow down in awe of them…”: Sports awards for Paralympic athletes and Olympic athletes

by Marte Bentzen & Kristin Vindhol Evensen

Vol. 12 2021, pages 59–84
Published April 19, 2021


Paralympic athletes receive less media attention than Olympic athletes. Further, Olympic athletes are honoured for athletic achievements, whereas Paralympic athletes have been described as victims, suffering or heroic. Following researchers who have approached normativity and compulsory able-bodiedness in the light of hegemony and sub-hegemony, the current study explores whether sports media are sluggish when presenting athletes with disabilities, or if the picture is a more nuanced one. The context studied was the Norwegian Sports Awards (2001–2018). All introductions to the awards of the following categories were transcribed: Best male athlete, best female athlete, best Paralympian (2002–2012)/best male Paralympian and best female Paralympian (2013–2018). A six-step reflexive inductive thematic analysis was used to analyse the data (Braun & Clarke, 2019). The results indicated that the introduction of elite athletes with disabilities had some prominent hallmarks. Athletes with disabilities (‘they’) are different from those living without disabilities (‘us’). Athletes with disabilities are inspiring. Achievements of athletes with disabilities are placed in the shade, while disabilities are placed to the fore. An overall hegemony shows when best male and best female athlete are introduced: Female athletes are, to a large degree, described as developing and joked about in sexual manners, whereas male athletes are world-leading. This study provides the opportunity to learn from examples that balance the recognition of elite athletes with disabilities experiencing challenges in daily living with recognition of their athletic achievements. Thus, we suggest that this study adds nuance to the previous research within this context.

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MARTE BENTZEN is an Associate Professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (NIH), Department of Teacher Education and Outdoor studies. She lectures in Sport and Health Psychology and Adapted Physical Activity. She currently heads the Adapted Physical Activity program at NIH, where her research and teaching focus on the facilitation of activities related to adapted physical activity and health psychology. Other common features in Bentzen’s research have been how contextual characteristics influence individuals’ motivation and endeavours in contexts likes school, sport, work, psychiatric treatment, and rehabilitation.

KRISTIN VINDHOL EVENSEN is an Associate Professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Department of Teacher Education and Outdoor studies. Her professional background is within kindergarten pedagogy and special needs education where she has specialized in intellectual disabilities. She lectures in Adapted Physical Activity and in PE teacher education. In research, Evensen has investigated subjective embodied experiences of children with severe, multiple disabilities. She has also described how recognition of the expressive body in movement can be a means when securing human rights also for persons with severe intellectual disabilities. Evensen’s work has been conducted within a phenomenological perspective as well as in a social understanding of how hierarchies emerge.