Archive for Vol. 10, 2019

Routes and roots to knowing in Shaun White’s snowboarding road trip: A mycorrhizaic approach to multisensory emplaced learning in exergames

by Åsa Bäckström, Mikael Quennerstedt, Ninitha Maivorsdotter & Jane Meckbach

Vol. 10 2019, pages 251–278
Published November 25, 2019


This article explores learning during game-play of a snowboarding video game intrigued by questions raised in the wake of the increasing mediatisation and digitisation of learning. Correspondingly, we answer to calls for more suitable metaphors for learning to cater for the entangled learning processes that changes related to the increase of digital media may infer. Using a short term sensory ethnography approach, we elaborate on the idea of multisensory emplaced learning and propose an organic metaphor – mycorrhiza – to both methodology and learning. Mycorrhiza refers to a symbiotic relationship between fungi and roots of plants in its environment where fungi are the visible effects of the mycorrhiza. The metaphor provides a way to start to unpack sensory, visual and embodied aspects of learning in the complexities of the digital age. By elaborating on the mycorrhizaic concepts fungus, soil, growth, mycelia and symbiosis we show three interrelated ways of moving through this game: (i) a social and cultural route, (ii) a competitive route, and (iii) an experiential route. With help of the metaphor we discern the symbiotic relations between what appeared in our empirical material as visual and other human and non-human aspects of emplacement.

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About the Authors

ÅSA BÄCKSTRÖM is an Associate Professor at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden. Her research interests include informal learning processes, youth, culture and gender. Skateboarding has been particularly focused since the late 1990s and Bäckström’s work has appeared in Leisure Studies, Journal of Sport and Social Issues and Sport Education and Society. Bäckström has a keen interest in ethnographic methodology and sensory perspectives.

MIKAEL QUENNERSTEDT is a Professor in Physical Education and Health at the School of Health Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. Quennerstedt has been leading the project Learning and exergames in school (LEXIS) funded by the Swedish research council, investigating the educational values of video-games involving movement, so called exergames, and the learning regarding the body, physical activity and health that takes place in young people’s playing of exergames in school.

NINITHA MAIVORSDOTTER is a Senior lecturer in Public Health and Head of ‘Digital HEAlth Research’ (DHEAR), a research unit at the School of Health Sciences at University of Skövde, Sweden. Her research interests include the study of processes of meaning making and learning in different educational contexts, such as health education, physical education, and online communities. Her work has been published in journals like Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health and Sport, Education and Society.

JANE MECKBACH has a PhD in pedagogy and is an associate professor at The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH) in Stockholm, Sweden, where she has worked for the last 30 years. Her current research areas include teacher training and physical education from a pedagogical and gender perspective, as well as young coachers in education. In her research, question of gender, artefacts, subject content and learning processes within educational practice have been prominent.

Learning health in Swedish physical education: A critical case study of students’ encounters with physical fitness and health as a learning object

by Marie Graffman-SahlbergGunilla Brun Sundblad & Suzanne Lundvall

Vol. 10 2019, pages 227–250
Published November 18, 2019


The interfaces between health, physical education and schooling have a long history. Critical questions are being raised about the enforcement of learning a particular health practice in school physical education (PE). The present study departures from a practice-based research project evaluating a pedagogical model. The aim of the case study was to explore upper secondary students’ learning and understandings of a specific learning object, aerobic fitness and how this influences health, after participating in a period of a longer lab work in the context of Swedish physical education. A phenomenographic approach was used when analyzing the students’ written reports to identify and distinguish the variations of learning outcomes and understandings that emerged. Expectations of physical performance created tensions, and even conflicts, between the student-centred assignments and existing traditions within the field of physical education. The findings underscore the risk of neoliberal logics underpinning health education in the learning culture of PE. Further studies are needed where teaching methods/models and student learning are paid attention to in order to move away from teaching to be healthy towards students learning about health and make sense of themselves as healthy. This may offer new educational perspectives.

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MARIE GRAFFMAN-SAHLBERG is a senior lecturer at Katedralskolan in Uppsala and has also worked as a teacher educator in sport and health at Uppsala University. Graffman-Sahlberg has been a PhD student in the Graduate School of Sport and Health Didactics, financed by the Swedish Research Council (VR). Her main research interest is within health literacy, sports pedagogy and teaching.

GUNILLA BRUN SUNDBLAD completed her PhD in Medical Science examining self-experienced health and sport injuries among children and youth. She has been part of the longitudinal project Sport-School-Health (SIH), a joint research project between Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University, where she has been responsible for several follow-up studies. Brun Sundblad is affiliated researcher at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH.

SUZANNE LUNDVALL is an associate professor in sport science and head of department at the Swedish School of Sport Science, GIH in Stockholm. Her research is mainly within sports pedagogy focusing on attitudes, policies and practices related to the school subject physical education and health, organized sport, and outdoor education. Several studies have had a gender or an intersectional perspective. She is author of numerous articles and book chapters in sport science.

The formation of interpersonal relationships in dance practice: A mixed-method study of two programmes

by Susanne Ravn & Karsten Elmose-Østerlund

Vol. 10 2019, pages 201–226
Published November 4, 2019


Previous studies have described how dance practices encourage the development of interpersonal relationships. However, the possible connections between the development of such relationships and the cooperative characteristics of the dance practices have rarely been focused on. This article sets out to investigate: a) the extent to which cooperative dance practices organised around a performance foster interpersonal relationships among the participants compared with the fostering of interpersonal relationships in different sports activities, and b) which cooperative aspects of such dance practices are of importance for the fostering of interpersonal relationships. We used a mixed-method approach, combining surveys, observations and interviews, to investigate two Danish dance programmes. The descriptive comparison with members of sports clubs presents strong indications that interpersonal relationships arose within a comparatively short time period. Unexpectedly, the activities in the two dance programmes were to a very large extent based on teacher-oriented methods. However, using cooperative learning theory, we could point towards several constitutive elements of cooperative learning that are of importance in facilitating interpersonal relationships. With minor differences between the two programmes, the professional dancers’ way of forming part of and facilitating the process of creating a performance seemed to play a crucial role for ‘individual accountability’ and ‘promotive interaction’ between participants.

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SUSANNE RAVN is an Associate professor and Head of ‘Movement, Culture and Society’, a research unit at the University of Southern Denmark. In her research, she focuses on phenomenological approaches to skilled movement in dance practice. She is the author of several books in Danish and English and has published her research in journals focusing on phenomenology, qualitative research methods in sport, exercise and health, dance research and sociological analysis of embodied experiences.

KARSTEN ELMOSE-ØSTERLUND is an Associate Professor at the University of Southern Denmark. He conducts research into sports clubs, sports organisations, civil society, volunteer work and related subjects. With a master’s degree in sports science and political science, he has written a PhD on the social benefits generated by sports clubs. Recently, he was the project leader for ‘Social Inclusion and Volunteering in Sports Clubs in Europe’, a European research project conducted in 2015-2017.

Godt styresett i Norges idrettsforbund: En kvalitativ dokumentanalyse av Åpenhetsutvalgets rapport

by Hans Erik Næss

Vol. 10 2019, pages 177–199
Published October 7, 2019


Good governance and The Norwegian Confederation of Sports: A qualitative document analysis of Åpenhetsutvalget’s report

Since the early 2000s The Norwegian Confederation of Sports (NIF) has encountered challenges related to organisational culture, accountability, and transparency. As a NIF-commissioned committee (”Åpenhetsutvalget”) as a response to these challenges published the report Innsyn, åpenhet og tillit in 2016, this article explores to what degree it answers to its mandate. Drawing upon theories of trust, organisational culture, and institutional logic, as well as qualitative document analysis (QDA), the controversial finding is not what the report includes, but what it does not address. While the report does describe certain needs for procedural change, it ignores the importance of organizational culture that makes transparency feasible as an institutional quality in the first place. As a result, the report excludes one of the most crucial facets for renewing public trust in NIF.

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About the Author

HANS ERIK NÆSS (PhD sociology, University of Oslo) is Associate Professor in Sport Management at the Department of Leadership and Organization, Kristiania University College. His research interests sport governance, sporting events, and the relation between sport and politics. He has published articles on these topics in journals such as Journal of Global Sport Management and European Journal for Sport and Society. Currently he is working on a book about the organizational history of the Fédération Internationale l’Automobile (FIA), since 1904 the governing body of world motorsports.

Physical Activity Intensity Distribution during Physical Education among Swedish Upper Secondary School Students

by Julius Gerth, Anders RaustorpAnders Fröberg

Vol. 10 2019, pages 163–175
Published September 23, 2019


Background: Physical education (PE) has been identified as a potentially powerful domain to promote physical activity (PA) among school-aged youth. In Sweden, there is a lack of studies investigating PA intensity distribution during PE among upper secondary school student.

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate PA intensity distribution during PE among Swedish upper secondary school students.

Methods: PA was measured during 41 PE lessons among 121 (n = 75 boys) Swedish upper secondary school students (ages 16-18 years) using hip-mounted objective activity monitors from ActiGraph™ (GT3X+ accelerometers).

Results: The participants spent a median of 23% of the PE lessons time being sedentary, 17% in light PA (LPA), and 59% in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA). There were no differences between boys and girls for neither sedentary (p = .185), LPA (p = .377), or MVPA (p = .839). Sedentary (p = .001) and LPA (p < .0001) were lower and MVPA (p < .0001) higher during fitness-related activities when compared to invasion games.

Conclusion: A median of 59% of the PEL time was spent in MVPA which is relatively high in an international comparison. No differences were observed between boys and girls. Fitness-related activities contributed to higher MVPA when compared to invasion games.

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About the Authors

JULIUS GERTH has an MA in Upper Secondary Education: Physical Education and Health and History. He also has a BSc with a major in Sport Science. He is currently working as a primary school teacher of Physical Education and Health in Gothenburg.

ANDERS RAUSTORP is Professor in Health Promotion Physical Activity at University of Gothenburg. His research concerns monitoring physical activity and perceived physical self-esteem. It includes unique longitudinal data (17 y) and tracking data of objectively measured physical activity. In Anders over 40 scientifically publications, ranging medical, educational and public health areas, a special interest have been given to youth´s physical activity and built environment (i.e. school yards). Current project focuses on climate change and pre-schoolers physical activity.

ANDREAS FRÖBERG is a certified Physical Education and Health teacher and has an MSc and PhD in Sport Science. He is currently employed as a senior lecturer at the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, where he teaches at the Physical Education and Health teacher education program and the Health Promotion program.

Factors underlying competitive success in youth football: A study of the Swedish national U15 football talent system

by Tor Söderström, Peter BrusvikStefan Lund

Vol. 10 2019, pages 139–162
Published September 9, 2019


This study of Sweden’s 24 football districts analyses whether contextual factors (number of players, number of elite teams, and number of elite players on each district team) influence the district teams’ relative age effect (RAE) and the way in which contextual factors and RAE correlate with the U15 teams’ competitive success. The analysis is based on register data on district players (4,516 girls and 4,501 boys, all 15 years old) who attended an annual elite football camp: birthdate, the total number of players aged 15, club membership, senior elite clubs, proportion of elite players on the district teams, and match outcomes. Based on the birthdates of the players born between 1986 and 1997, a relative age index was constructed for each district. The results showed a relative age effect (RAE) for the selected district players (boys and girls) compared to the general 15-year-old football population; however, birthdate only affected the competitive success of the boys’ district teams. The analysis points out that contextual factors such as the number of football players and the presence of elite clubs are important to consider in order to understand how RAE is produced and its relationship to the success of winning matches for boys’ district teams.

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TOR SÖDERSTRÖM is a Professor in Education at Umeå University.  His research concerns learning and development in higher education and sport, with a particular interest in the development of professional knowledge and skills. Current projects focuses on talent identification and talent development in sports. Over the years, he has contributed with book-chapters and journal articles related to these fields.

PETER BRUSVIK is a PhD student in the Department of Education. Umeå University, Sweden. His research interest focuses on drop-out and continuation processes in sports, particularly football.

STEFAN LUND is an Associate Professor in the Department of of Education and Teachers’ Practice at Linnaeus University, Sweden. His research interests include educational policy, school choice, school culture, multicultural incorporation, and sociology of sports. He has, for example, published School Choice, Ethnic Divisions and Symbolic Boundaries (2015) and articles in the Journal of Education Policy, Sociology of Sport Journal, and Sport, Education and Society.

Student-athletes’ beliefs about athletic ability: A longitudinal and mixed method gender study

by Joakim Ingrell, Marie Larneby, Urban Johnson
& Susanna Hedenborg

Vol. 10 2019, pages 117–138
Published June 10, 2019


The overall aim of this paper is to study and discuss student-athletes’ beliefs about athletic ability. Specifically, the aim is to analyze and problematize athletic ability longitudinally and with a gender perspective as it is perceived, discussed, and valued by student-athletes. A three-year and six-wave study was conducted on 78 student-athletes (30 females and 48 males; Mage at T1 = 12.7, SD = 0.44) attending a compulsory school with a sport profile. Additionally, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 of the student-athletes (16 female and 11 male) during their second and third school year. Based on a parallel mixed-data analysis with cross-talks and meta-inferences, the two main results of this study are as follows: (1) entity beliefs increase and incremental beliefs decrease during the three-year period, and (2) gender add a further understanding of the student-athletes’ beliefs about athletic ability. 

The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the potential influence of the socialization processes on beliefs of athletic ability, and suggestions for future research are provided.

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JOAKIM INGRELL is currently a PhD student at the department of sport sciences, at Malmö University, Sweden. His main research interests are: motivation, motivational climate, youth sport and competitive sport.

MARIE LARNEBY is currently a PhD student at the department of sport sciences, at Malmö University, Sweden. Larneby’s main research interests are youth sport and physical activity in school and during leisure time. Her ongoing PhD-project has a gender theoretical perspective.

URBAN JOHNSON is a Professor of psychology and sport at the center of research on welfare, health and sport, at Halmstad University, Sweden. He has foremost focused on studying psychosocial risk factors during rehabilitation of long-term injured competitive athletes. Significant keywords in his research are: intervention, prevention, psychosocial risk factors, rehabilitation, coaches and competitive sport.

SUSANNA HEDENBORG is a professor in Sport Science, Malmö University. Hedenborg has an academic background in social and economic history. In her sport research she has focused on childhood and youth studies, gender, and equestrian sports. She is the author of numerous articles and text books in sport science. Hedenborg is affiliated to the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and president of the Swedish Research Council for Sport Science.

Fra presentasjon til prestasjon? Sportifisering av skateboard i Norge

by Anne Tjønndal, Arve Hjelseth & Verena Lenneis

Vol. 10 2019, pages 89–116
Published May 20, 2019


From self-expression to competition?
The sportification of Norwegian skateboarding

Skateboarding has gained increasing popularity in Norway and Northern Europe. With increasing popularity, the traditions and identities traditionally associated with skateboarding are challenged. In this article, we utilize Guttmann’s seven characteristics of modern sport to discuss the ongoing sportification process of skateboarding. Empirically, the article builds on the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympic program for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games, and explores how this event has caused increased bureaucratization of skateboarding in Norway. Methodologically, the paper is based on a qualitative content analysis of 25 texts, strategically chosen to examine the development of skateboarding in Norway since the 1970s. The analysis demonstrates how skateboarding has gone from being an alternative youth culture, to becoming an illegal activity (1978-1989), to being subjected to large commercialized events such as the X-Games and the Olympics. Furthermore, we illustrate how the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics has brought substantial changes for Norwegian skateboarding, including new organizational models through the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF), and the establishment of Norway’s first national skateboarding team. Lastly, the article points to how the sportification of skateboarding creates a divide between skateboarders, between those who accept the sportification processes and those who reject it.

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About the Authors

ANNE TJØNNDAL (PhD sociology) is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Social Science, Nord university, campus Bodø. Tjønndal teaches qualitative and quantitative research methods at a bachelor, masters and PhD level. Her research interests are broadly categorized in two topics: (1) sport, gender and social inclusion/exclusion, and (2) innovation, technology and alternative futures of sport.

ARVE HJELSETH is an Associate Professor in the sociology of sport at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. He gained his doctorate from the University of Bergen in 2006 on a thesis about the commercialization of Norwegian football. Research interests include sport specatators and sport fans as well as various aspects of sportization processes and the impact of economic logics in the field of sport.

VERENA LENNEIS is a sport sociologist and works as an Assistant Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark. Her research interests include gender and sports, ethnic minorities’ sports participation, and lifestyle sports. She has played the lifestyle sport of footbag freestyle for many years.

Vem är det som styr egentligen? Svensk kommunal idrottspolitik 1985–2017 – en fallstudie av Stockholms stad

by Paul Sjöblom

Vol. 10 2019, pages 51–88
Published May 13, 2019


Who’s in charge?
Sport policies in Swedish municipalities 1985–2017 – a case study of Stockholm city

The aim of this study is to analyse the distribution of public sport resources throughout time on the local level – and its consequences. In focus is the concept of governance, namely the stakeholder’s capacity to affect to such extent that long-term effects are achieved. The method used is a case study of Stockholm city, the capital municipality in Sweden, where the material consists of meeting minutes and decision protocols from the public sports authority, contemporary literature and recorded and transcribed interviews with representatives of politics and public administration. The analytical approach starts within historical and political science-theories and research on governing. Three forms of governing are scrutinized: hierarchic governing, discursive governing and interactive governing. The investigated period is 1985-2017. It is a period with significant upheavals in the Swedish society, especially regarding the development of sports and public administration. The survey of the governing forms and practices indicates, that a lot of different types have been used for a long time working parallel as a complement to each other rather than succeeding (replacing) each other. Primary results regarding the accomplished sport politics, are in the first place that the allowance of public funds to sports has increased during the 2000s. Secondly that the resources are mainly distributed in mainly the same ways (channels) as before and that there are mainly the same physical activities, organizations and social groups as previously which are favoured – while others in comparison are disadvantaged. This is a fact in spite of that the politicians since quite a long time are fully aware of which groups have been neglected when it comes to physical activities, what kind of new desires citizens have today, and that there are many new initiatives time and again to bring about a change. The conclusion reads that the structural elements economy, tradition and culture have influenced the shaping of sports policy after 1985 more than individual stakeholders and their articulated interests and expressed values.

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PAUL SJÖBLOM is an Associate Professor and senior lecturer in sport sciences at The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, Stockholm. His research is in the fields of sport policy and governance, especially within municipalities, as well as sporting environments and sports cultures, especially concerning sporting grounds and sports clubs. Sjöblom has in his publications mainly focused on organizations (and the individuals acting in them), where he has studied the organizational and operational principles and their development over time in particular. It has been about describing, analyzing and trying to explain norms, values and connected behaviors and activities. Sjöblom has recently written the first chapter in a new Swedish introductory textbook to sport management, he has co-edited a report for The Swedish Sports Confederation on social benefits of sport, and he has guest edited a special issue about “The Swedish sports model” in the peer reviewed yearbook of the   association of Swedish sport historians.

From Hard Work to Grit: On the discursive formation of talent

by Magnus Kilger

Vol. 10 2019, pages 29–50
Published April 3, 2019


This article examines the long historical interest for the selection of young talented children in sports. This seemingly everlasting search for talents and the quest for the especially gifted is followed by the practice of trying to find and select the right individuals. This paper elucidates historical representations of talent and talent selection in a series of professional sports literature in Sweden during the 1930s, 1980s, 1990s and 2010s.

Drawing on a discourse analytic approach, it illustrates the historical understanding of selection and how such practices produce formations of legitimacy. The study shows how certain historical elements reoccur in contemporary selection discourse and how specific actions are transformed into personal characteristics. These selection processes construct a rationale for a legitimate selection and illustrate how talent selection is based on historically specific assumptions, normative and moral statements and activities connected to a specific discursive formation. This insight underlines that talent selection cannot be understood as essential skills identified through observation, tests or interviews. It is rather to be understood as a discursive repertoire responding to a specific historical legitimacy.

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MAGNUS KILGER holds a doctoral degree in Child and Youth Science, and currently works as a Senior Lecturer in Sport Science, specialized in educational science, at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH) in Stockholm. His research deals with organized child and youth sports, focusing on talent selection and youth identity in sporting contexts. His research interests include social interaction and ethnography from a child and youth perspective. His methodological works is primarily within the fields of narrative and discourse analysis.