Vol. 11 2020, pages 43–67
Published June 8, 2020
Public health work and the sport-health ideology: The experiences of public health coordinators on collaborating with volunteer sport organizations
The idea that sport participation is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle (the sport-health ideology) is one of the most socially pervasive ideas in modern western societies. The sport-health ideology presupposes that there is a linear correlation between sport and health, and that this correlation always is positive. This idea has proven to be persistent in European sport and welfare policies. The following study explores how the sport-health ideology is expressed in the narratives of public health workers in Norway as they discuss collaborative efforts with voluntary sport clubs. The material is derived from 24 interviews with employees in the public health sector at a municipality level in Norway. The analysis demonstrates how collaborations with volunteer sport clubs are perceived as a resource in public health work, particularly when the target groups are children and youth. Furthermore, the material illustrates how the informants talk of sport as something homogenous and health promoting, with potential to contribute to reduced social inequality in health. These narratives show how the connection between sport participation and health is taken for granted, and how the sport-health ideology shapes the perception of volunteer sport clubs as potential public health agents.
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About the Author
ANNE TJØNNDAL is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Nord University, Bodø – Norway. Her research interests includes studies of social innovation, technology and digitalization, gender and social inclusion in sport. Her work is published in a number of high-quality international journals, including Sociology of Sport Journal, International Review for the Sociology of Sport and European Journal for Sport and Society, among others. Tjønndal is a member of The Young Academy of Norway (AYF).
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.
Published by: May 22, 2013
Tags: bodybuilding, doping, fitness culture, gender, gym culture, health, identity, Jesper Andreasson, performance enhancing drugs, sociology of sport, sports