Tag Archive for sociology of sport

From Community Based Identities to Individual Benefits for Volunteers: A Comparison of Three Sporting Events

by Elsa Kristiansen, Eivind Å. SkilleDag Vidar Hanstad

Vol. 5 2014, pages 47–68. Published May 28, 2014


The purpose of this paper is to explore and identify different types of volunteers at three major sporting events: the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria; the 2012 GöteborgsVarvet (a half-marathon race), Sweden; and the 2012 FIS World Ski Flying Championships in Vikersund, Norway. Altogether, 37 volunteers were interviewed, and Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and field, as well as modernization theories, were employed in the analyses. Data revealed that all three groups of volunteers had different motives for volunteer work. The young, international volunteers at the Winter Youth Olympic Games were concerned with learning and gaining experience; the volunteers at Vikersund were motivated by the commitment to the local community; while the volunteers at GöteborgsVarvet volunteered for their local sport club. In conclusion, we argue that there is an increased complexity of volunteer patterns. Theoretically speaking, there is a difference between subfields of volunteering which fit various individual habitus. Clearly, modern volunteers, particularly young people, extend the complexity of the sport field and the volunteering field.

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About the Authors

ELSA KRISTIANSEN is a Postdoctoral fellow at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. She has investigated the impact of organizational issues and especially the effect of media coverage on elite athletes’ perceptions of stress, in addition to being involved in an international project examining the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). She is currently investigating the complex network of intertwining relationships in which young athletes are involved, and how these relationships influence the development of these young athletes. Her latest publications include Kristiansen, E., (in press).Competing for culture: Young Olympians’ narratives from the first winter Youth Olympic Games. International Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology. doi:10.1080/1612197X.2012.756259; Kristiansen, E., & Parent, M. M. (2014). Athletes, their families and team officials: Sources of support and stressors. In D. V. Hanstad, M. M. Parent, & B. Houlihan (Eds.), The Youth Olympic Games (pp. 106–121). Oxon: Routledge; and Kristiansen, E., & Lines, G. (2014). Media. In A. Papannnoiu, & D. Hackfort, (Eds), Companion to sport and exercise psychology: Global perspectives and fundamental concepts (pp. 236-259). New York: Taylor & Francis.

EIVIND Å. SKILLE is Professor with the Department of Sport at the Hedmark University College, Elverum, Norway. Eivind is a sport sociologist and his main research interests are sport policy, sport organization, and sport participation. Much of his work has focused on the relationship between the state’s sport policy making and the possibilities and constraints for implementation of this policy through the voluntary sport organizations. His latest publications include Idrettslaget – helseprodusent eller trivselsarena? (2012, Oplandske Bokforlag), The Conventions of Sport Clubs: Enabling and Constraining the Implementation of Social Goods Through Sport’ (2011, Sport, Education and Society, 16 (2): 253-265), and ‘Sport for all in Scandinavia: sport policy and participation in Norway, Sweden and Denmark’ (2011, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 3 (3): 327-340)

DAG VIDAR HANSTAD is Associate Professor in sport management and head of the Department of Cultural and Social Studies at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo. He has a PhD on the topic “Anti-Doping in Sport. A Study of Policy Development since 1998”. He was previously Sport Editor for the leading Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. He has also background from handball as a player on the national team and trainer at highest level. His research interests include events, volunteerism, anti-doping and media. Hanstad is currently leader of a research project on the Youth Olympic Games.

The relationship between adolescent sport participation and lifelong participation in physical activity in Norway: A Critical Analysis

by Eivind Å. Skille & Tor Solbakken

Vol. 5 2014, pages 25–45
Published April 15, 2014


In this paper, the relationship between adolescent sport participation and lifelong participation in physical activity (LLP) is scrutinized, in order to explain why people are active later in life. Literature treating the relationship between sport participation during adolescence was compared to literature into characteristics of Norwegian adolescent sport. Organized and competitive sport does not facilitate lifelong continuation in physical activity, due to its characteristics of sport: adolescents often drop out from sport, adolescents specializes in one sport instead of keeping or developing a broad repertoire for physical activity, and adolescents do not feel autonomous and free in a sport setting as it is adult controlled. Assisted by Bourdieu’s theory of field and habitus, the analysis indicates that habitus (including characteristics of social class) better explains LLP than does adolescent sport participation. It is proposed that habitus can be seen as the intermediate mechanism that explains both adolescent sport participation and LLP (instead of seeing the former explaining the latter).

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About the Author(s)

EIVIND Å. SKILLE is Professor with the Department of Sport at the Hedmark University College, Elverum, Norway. Eivind is a sport sociologist and his main research interests are sport policy, sport organization, and sport participation. Much of his work has focused on the relationship between the state’s sport policy making and the possibilities and constraints for implementation of this policy through the voluntary sport organizations. His latest publications include Idrettslaget – helseprodusent eller trivselsarena? (2012, Oplandske Bokforlag), The Conventions of Sport Clubs: Enabling and Constraining the Implementation of Social Goods Through Sport’ (2011, Sport, Education and Society, 16 (2): 253-265), and ‘Sport for all in Scandinavia: sport policy and participation in Norway, Sweden and Denmark’ (2011, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 3 (3): 327-340).

TOR SOLBAKKEN is associate professor of sport and physical education at Hedmark University College, department of Sport and Active Lifestyle.  His approach to research and development projects can be described as multidimensional with main focus on applied psychology  (learning strategies) and sport sociology (effects of sport participation). His latest publication in the field og sport sociology  is also in cooperation with professor Eivind Skille,  Sport as a vehicle for health promotion – an analysis of Norwegian policy documents (2011, Critical Public Health, 21: 191-202). Apart from the academic work, he is continuously involved as coach related to cross country skiing and biathlon at different levels.

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.

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).

The Winner Takes All: A Qualitative Study of Cooperation on Cycling Teams

by Katrine O. Netland, Vidar Schei & Therese E. Sverdrup

Vol. 3 2012, pages 189–209
Published December 10, 2012


Cycling is arguably one of the most physically demanding sports. However, road cycling athletes are also challenged by a social-psychological tension induced by a fairly simple dilemma: There will only be one individual winner, but no one can win unless teammates sacrifice their own chances to win. This article addresses ways to effectively handle this challenge. We conducted in-depth interviews with athletes from professional and continental road cycling teams, as well as team sports directors. Our findings indicate that a prime undertaking indeed is to deal with the trade-off between individual goals and team goals. We identify three principles that may help to improve cooperation: involvement, cohesion, and the psychological contract. These principles seem to facilitate cooperation and a collective orientation, and they seem to be positively related to performance and satisfaction. We discuss these findings and their implications for cycling teams in particular, as well as for teams and team management in general.

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About the Authors

KATRINE O. NETLAND holds a master degree from NHH Norwegian School of Economics, and have also studied corporate social responsibility at Södertörns Högskola in Buenos Aires and French at the Université de Paul Valéry in Montpellier. She is now at Deloitte in Oslo. Her areas of interests include sport and teamwork in general, and she has a passionate interest for road cycling in particular.

VIDAR SCHEI is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the NHH Norwegian School of Economics, and Deputy Head of the Department of Strategy and Management. His research interests are teams, conflict management, creativity and culture. He has taken part in research appearing in journals such as ScienceJournal of Experimental Social PsychologyGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations, and Journal of Managerial Psychology.

THERESE E. SVERDRUP has a Cand. Polit degree in Organizational Psychology from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and defended her Ph.D about psychological contracts in work groups at the NHH Norwegian School of Economics in November 2012. Her research interests are team, leadership and working relations, and she is now research coordinator at the FOCUS program at NHH.

Ethno-politics and state sport policy: The case of how the Sámi Sport Association–Norway challenged the Norwegian onfederation of sport’s monopoly for state subsidies to sport

by Eivind Å. Skille

Vol. 3 2012, pages 143–165
Published September 19, 2012


This paper investigates how the Sámi Sport Association of Norway (SVL-N), with the support of the Sámi Parliament in Norway, challenged the Norwegian confederation of sport’s (NIF) monopoly to state funding to sport. Through document analysis of correspondence between the Ministry of Culture and the Sámi Parliament, the Sámi sport Association (SVL-N) and the Norwegian confederation of sports, it was revealed how the Ministry of Culture changed its opinion from wanting to keep NIF’s monopoly to willingly support also SVL-N with state subsidies to sport. Applying the theoretical perspective of Bourdieu, it is pointed out how the mode of heterodoxy which is needed to create change in a political and organizational field, such as the Norwegian field of sport policy and organization which has traditionally been based on the relationship between the Ministry of Culture and NIF, was developed. Employing the perspective of Brubaker, it is pointed out how this heterodoxy was achieved by the utilization of ethno-political entrepreneurs such as the president of the Sámi parliament.

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About the Author

EIVIND Å. SKILLE is Professor with the Department of Culture and Society at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway. Eivind is a sport sociologist and his main research interests are within sport policy, sport organization, and sport participation. Much of his work has focused on the relationship between the state’s sport policy making and the possibilities and constraints for implementation of this policy through the voluntary sport organizations. His latest publications include Idrettslaget – helseprodusent eller trivselsarena? (2012, Oplandske Bokforlag), The Conventions of Sport Clubs: Enabling and Constraining the Implementation of Social Goods Through Sport’ (2011, Sport, Education and Society, 16 (2): 253-265), and ‘Sport for all in Scandinavia: sport policy and participation in Norway, Sweden and Denmark’ (2011, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 3 (3): 327-340).

Att äga en (huligan-) berättelse: Mediers konstruktion av fotbollsvåld

by Aage Radmann

Vol. 3 2012, pages 97–120
Published June 6, 2012


Creating a (hooligan) narrative: Media’s construction of football violence
The purpose of this article is to interpret and analyze the phenomenon of football hooliganism as presented in “old” print media and “new” digital media. A central issue explored in this article is possible differences between descriptions of the event in the old and new media. Research of the old media’s concept of hooliganism shows that media can create a panic that leads to demands for stricter regulations. In this article I have tried to demonstrate that discussions are even more fierce in some types of new media. It is difficult to clearly distinguish between old and new media. Descriptions and interpretations of the football landscape in the old media create the impression that Swedish football has o problem with meaningless violence and increasing hooliganism. The “high-risk supporters” are depicted as a serious threat to Swedish football, and as enemies of football in general. However, this narrative is also repeated by parts of the new media. In the article, I contextualize (media) images of a hooligan event and make visible the power struggle between different media actors around the question of “good football culture” versus “hooliganism”, a tug-of-war that will affect the Swedish football landscape to the core.

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AAGE RADMANN is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sport Sciences, Malmö University, Sweden. Aage is a social scientist and his main research interests are within sociology of sport, sport and media, football culture and hooliganism. His research is inspired both from traditional sociology and theories about the new media context. He uses the football landscape as a prism to understand the interplay between individuals (e.g. hooligans), groups (football firms vs. police forces), and on a structural level (media and identity). His latest publications are “The Structure of Sport Violence” – (Idrottsvåldets karaktär, 2012) for the Swedish National Inquiry in Sport and Violence, SOU 2012:23, p 235-304, and “The New Media and Hooliganism” (2012), in We love to hate each other. Mediated Football Fan culture, Krövel & Roksvold (eds.), Gothenburg, Sweden: Nordicom.

Teenageres idrætsdeltagelse i moderne hverdagsliv

by Maja Pilgaard

Vol. 3 2012, pages 71–95
Published May 9, 2012


maja-pilgaardTeenagers’ Participation in Sports and Exercise in Modern Everyday Life
During adolescence, the tendency to withdraw from club organized sports is high. This has been an issue among researchers for many years but is still a cause for concern for the agents within the field of sports. The latest survey on sports participation among the Danish population shows that the adolescents have become even less involved in sports within the past ten years. This article focuses on what can explain the tendency to drop out. The analysis reveals a pattern of more individualized, self-organized and flexible sports participation among adolescents. Individual reasons for drop out from club organized sports are analyzed, and reasons are categorized into two groups, ‘voluntary drop out’ and ‘forced drop out’. The theoretical approach of individualization as a general tendency of modern everyday life contributes to an understanding of a need for more ‘light sport communities’ in order to allow adolescents to combine sport and social relations as an incorporated part of modern everyday life. .

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MAJA PILGAARD is a PhD student at the Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, and is employed as an academic researcher at the Danish Institute for Sports Studies in Copenhagen. Maja investigates sport and exercise participation of the Danes, and from a perspective of the sociology of everyday life she examines the development and the character of participation and the variations between different parts of the population. She focuses on how people include sport and exercise in everyday life based on life stages, social background, work and family life, and how sports providers can understand and relate to the new, flexible and individual ways of organizing sports participation in modern everyday life.