Archive for Vol. 4, 2013

Research on Sport as a Means of Crime Prevention in a Swedish Welfare Context: A Literature Review

by David Ekholm

Vol. 4 2013, pages 91–120
Published October 17, 2013


This article reviews Swedish research literature on sport as a means to realize social objectives related to crime prevention, contextualized by international literature on the subject. The article examines how Swedish research on sport as a means of crime prevention can be understood in light of international research regarding research questions, theoretical approaches, and content. Utilizing content analysis with inductive category development, the article describes current Swedish and international research, identifies certain characteristics in Swedish research, as well as underlying assumptions. Besides a thorough description acknowledging discrepancies between scientific knowledge in literature and a common sense notion in society about sport as a means of crime prevention, the article highlights five results. First, Swedish research shows great similarities with international research regarding content. Second, previous research is greatly concerned with empirically driven approaches. Third, Swedish research is nonexplicit in terms of crime prevention as a social objective and considers social objectives a potential effect of, rather than a premise for, sport practices. Fourth, Swedish research is focused on primary and secondary prevention. Fifth, there is general lack of Swedish research on sport as a means of crime prevention. In conclusion, the article considers future possible directions in research with respect to characteristics in the traditionally upheld Swedish welfare state regime.

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About the Author

DAVID EKHOLM holds a PhD studentship within social work at Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. He has previously earned a master’s degree in sociology. Ekholm is currently working on a doctoral thesis on conceptions of sport as a means to prevent social problems. The thesis assumes a constructionist approach, examining how sport and crime are defined in relation to each other, by actors in society, when crime is considered a social problem, and sport a means of crime prevention. Ekholm’s main interests in this respect concerns moral, political and ideological discourses in welfare policy and in social work.

Between Performance and Beauty: Towards a sociological understanding of trajectories to drug use in a gym and bodybuildning context

by Jesper Andreasson

Vol. 4 2013, pages 69–90
Published May 22, 2013


Emanating from an ethnographic study of Swedish bodybuilders, this article aims to present a sociological understanding of various circumstances influencing the decision to begin taking performance-enhancing drugs. Theoretically, the research builds upon a constructionist approach, in which actors’ identity claims, the way they describe themselves and their group affiliation, are understood both as individual stories of identity construction and as discursive statements. The result shows that the willingness to perform, to focus on the body’s function, is a paradigmatic narrative being expressed throughout. As such, this performance oriented lifestyle can be related to traditional values saluted within organised sports and also understood as a fairly stable part of a hegemonic masculine construction. However, the results also show how the performance logic is entwined with a strong zest for bodily aesthetics. In the article, this cultural ambiguity is used as an analytical window through which one can see how different understandings of gender, health and doping continuously are socially negotiated in relation to contemporary fitness culture and public health organisations in Swedish society. By analysing doping trajectories in this way the article suggests that drug using practises could be understood as an activity performed along a continuum of cultural and societal (over-)conformity, rather than actions representing societal abnormality.

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About the Author

JESPER ANDREASSON is associate professor of sport science at Linnaeus University and has a PhD in Sociology. He has written mainly in the field of gender studies, and the sociology of sport. Andreasson’s doctoral dissertation, The Gender of Sports from 2007 (Swedish), focuses on how gender, the body and sexuality are constructed within Swedish team sports. His more recent work is found within the field of gym/fitness culture, gender, bodybuilding and doping. He has a qualitative and ethnographic approach in his research and is currently working on a book-project focusing gender, health and pedagogies within gym and fitness culture.

Using Court Reports to Enhance Knowledge of Sexual Abluse in Sport

by K. Fasting, C. Brackenridge & G. Kjølberg

Vol. 4 2013, pages 49–67
Published May 7, 2013


Sport scientists face difficulties in gaining access to data on sexual abuse in sport through conventional research sources and also in verifying media reports of such cases. One potential alternative source of data is court reports. The study reported here used a small number of court reports to examine issues confronting those researching sexual abuse in sport. Two questions were investigated: What do the court reports tell us about the perpetrators and their abuse strategies? How useful is content analysis of court reports for acquiring more knowledge about sexual abuse cases in sport? Data were drawn from electronic searches of the Norwegian Lovdata (Lawdata) website. 15 sport-based cases were revealed by the searches and then subjected to content analysis, both within- and cross-case. The findings confirm previous studies in relation to the perpetrator strategies and the absence of any perpetrator stereotype. The article concludes that court reports provide one valuable, yet still incomplete, source of information against which to test our understanding of sexual abuse in sport and develop abuse prevention measure.

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About the Authors

KARI FASTING is professor at the Department of Social and Cultural Studies, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. She became the first elected chair of this institution and served as the rector from 1989 to 1993. She is past president of the International Sociology of Sport Association and of Women’s Sport International. She has published widely on different aspects related to women, exercise and sport. Though her focus of research over the last years has been on sexual harassment and abuse in sport, she is now working on a project concerning Gender and the Top-Level coaching role.

CELIA BRACKENRIDGE is a Professorial Research Fellow in the Centre for Sport Health and Welfare at Brunel University in West London. She has been an honorary visiting professor in Germany (the Deutsche Sporthochschule, Cologne), the USA (Smith College, Massachussetts) and the UK (the Centre for Applied Childhood Studies at Huddersfield University). Her main research interests are gender equity, abuse prevention and athlete welfare.

GUSTAV KJØLBERG holds a master degree in sociology of sport from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. He is a former semi-professional football player, but works today as a teacher in a secondary school, teaching physical education and health.

Sex, Football and the Media – The Case of South Africa and the 2010 FIFA World Cup

by Maria Zuiderveld

Vol. 4 2013, pages 25–48
Published April 10, 2013


This study examines how gender interplays with the news agenda during a very large scale event, in a country still undergoing political transition and where journalism plays a significant role in the nation-building process. The present study brings new knowledge to this area by examining the news agendas in South Africa on a specific gender-related issue: the rights of sex workers and trafficking victims, concerning men and children as well, but women in particular. This issue is often debated in connection with global sports events such as the World Cup. Drawing on interviews with media practitioners and on discourse analysis, the purpose of this study was to examine the news discourse on sex labour and trafficking and the connection with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The findings suggest that the media discourse during the event was permeated with the rhetoric of nation-building. The combination of sport, media, and nationalism in a country in transition resulted in the ‘symbolic annihilation’ (Tuchman, 1978b) of a specific gender issue.

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About the Author

MARIA ZUIDERVELD is a PhD-student of Journalism at The Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, Stockholm University, and Lecturer in Journalism at Södertörn University. Her thesis focuses on gender in the newsroom in southern Africa. She has previously worked as a reporter and news presenter for the Swedish public service television broadcaster SVT.

Dopning utanför idrotten – individualisering och muskulösa skönhetsideal: En studie av dopning i grundskola, gymnasium och på gym i Kalmar kommun

by David Hoff

Vol. 4 2013, pages 1–24
Published February 15, 2013


The use of performance enhancing drugs, especially anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) has emerged as a social problem outside competitive sports, linked to substance abuse and crime. The purpose of this article is to analyze the use of doping and attitudes to doping outside the competitive sports context in relation to age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and branch of sport. The article is based on a survey study carried out in Kalmar Municipality at elementary schools (age=appr. 14; n=383), high schools (age=appr. 16; n=208) and fitness centers (n=327). The results showed that 1% of the girls and 2% of boys at elementary school, and 2% of girls and boys at high school, reported use of banned substances. 5% of the girls and 15% of the boys at high school had been offered illegal substances. At fitness centers, 4% of the women and 5% of the men reported doping use, most commonly in the age group 31-35 (15%). Gender differences were smaller than previous studies would suggest. Ethnic and socio-economic factors had only minor effects on prevalence of doping, which was more common among individuals who practiced strength sports and martial arts. Regarding attitudes towards doping, a large proportion of the pupils at elementary schools (45%) and students at high schools (56%) claimed that it is up to the individual to decide whether or not to use doping substances. The results are discussed from the perspective of individualization processes in society and in connection to influences from muscular body ideals, where doping together with work-out are analyzed as effective means for body transformations in individual (body-)identity projects.

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About the Author

DAVID HOFF is Associate Professor in Social Work, at the School of Social Work, Lund University. David has a PhD in Sociology of Law, and his interests in social and sport issues (often combined) has emerged during his time at the Department of Sport Sciences at Malmö University and the Department of Social Work at Linnaeus University. His main research interests include different perspectives on doping in sports as well as outside the sport context (e.g. as a social issue of abuse). The focus of his research is on individual and social driving forces for doping in relation to processes and trends in society. He has a qualitative methodological approach in his research, and he has recently completed an interview study of Swedish elite athletes who have been using illegal performing-enhancing substances. David has also written about the system of governance in relation to doping in sport from a sociological of law perspective. At present he is conducting an interview study of performance enhancing drugs users in fitness centers as part of a study of doping outside competitive sport. He is also working in a research project on physical activity and sport in drug abuse treatment.  His latest publications include ”Doping, risk and abuse: An interview study of elite athletes with a history of steroid use” (Performance Enhancement and Health, 2012; 1; 2; 61-65), and Doping- och antidopingforskning – En inventering av samhälls- och beteendevetenskaplig forskning och publikationer 2004-2007 (FoU-rapport 2008:1. Stockholm: Riksidrottsförbundet).