Tag Archive for sport

Stable Cultures in Cyberspace: A study about equestrians’ use of social media as knowledge platforms

by Lovisa Broms, Marte Bentzen, Aage Radmann & Susanna Hedenborg

Vol. 12 2021, pages 33–58
Published April 6, 2021


New media habits in the era of digitalization challenge previous understandings of who and what receives media coverage. Research shows that practitioners in self-organized lifestyle sports consistently use social media to attain and exchange information and knowledge about their sport. Is this also the case in organized sport? The Internet has become a great resource for horse-enthusiasts and the online horse world can be described as an extension of the physical horse world. Equestrian sport is particularly interesting to analyze due to the fact that there is an animal involved. Still, there is little knowledge of how horse enthusiasts use social media in relation to their interest in equestrian sports. The aim of this article is therefore to chart and analyze how equestrians use social media, how they communicate horse-related content on social media, and how social media can be seen as a source for knowledge exchange. Our investigation focuses on how equestrians use social media to acquire information about horses, and how this usage can be explained in connection to age and experience. A mixed methods design is used and data is collected from 28 focus group interviews with equestrians in Sweden and Norway and a survey with 1,628 respondents. Our study indicates that practitioners of self-organized sports are not unique in using social network sites (SNS) to exchange and attain knowledge about their sport; equestrians in general are shown to be frequent users of SNS such as Facebook and Instagram. Although our results show a few significant differences in SNS use in relation to age; the riders in the different age groups have surprisingly similar views of their SNS use in relation to attaining information about the horse. ‘Stable cultures’ and the organized structure of equestrian sports appear to create boundaries determining where a ‘good equestrian’ should seek information about horse-keeping. However, the organized structure and traditional nature of this sport do not stop equestrians from turning to SNS.

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About the Authors

LOVISA BROMS is a PhD candidate at the Department of Sport Sciences, Malmö University. Broms has an academic background in Sport Management and has extensive experience as project manager within national and international sport. Her thesis will focus on social media, culture, and sport with specific focus on equestrian sports, skateboard and basketball. With her contribution “Negotiating Authenticity: A study of young equestrians and social media”, she was a finalist and 3rd  prize winner of the ECSS Young Investigators Award at the annual conference in 2020.

MARTE BENTZEN is an Associate Professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, lecturing in Sport and Health Psychology and Adapted Physical Activity. Common features in Bentzen’s research have been how contextual characteristics influence individuals in terms of experienced demands and motivational support. Within the contexts of sport, work, rehabilitation and school, she finds it of importance to enhance research-based evidence in how to support individuals so they will both have the energy and desire to continue to be in the context, seek challenges, and experience meaningfulness.

SUSANNA HEDENBORG is a Professor of Sports Science and an Associate Professor in Social and Economic History. Hedenborg has her academic background in economic history, but has examined sport from historical and contemporary perspectives. Particular focus has been placed on changes in children’ and youth sports as well as sports from a gender perspective. In Hedenborg’s research, equestrian sports have received special attention. Hedenborg is the president of the Swedish Research Council for Sport Science and the Swedish Antidoping Foundation.

AAGE RADMANN is an Associate Professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. He is a sport sociologist focusing on media, youth culture, gender and violence in sports. Radmann is currently working on research projects related to Swedish and European supporter culture; women and football; sport tourism; PE and digitalization; stable cultures; Covid-19’s impact on sports; sport and poverty in Romania; and how social media affects the sports landscape.

Less Talk and More Action Please: Youth National Team Handball Players’ Experiences of a Mindfulness Training Program

by Line M. Nielsen, Walter StaianoUlrich Kirk & Kristoffer Henriksen

Vol. 11 2020, pages 69–91
Published September 18, 2020


Elite youth athletes are exposed to many stressors in sport and non-sport contexts and may benefit from the ability to be present in the moment and focus on the task at hand. Such skills are cultivated in mindfulness training. Guided by separate semi-structured interview guides for athletes and coaches, we interviewed eight male youth national team handball players and four of their club coaches about their subjective experiences and the effects of taking part in a Mindful Performance Enhancement Awareness and Knowledge (mPEAK) program. We used deductive and inductive thematic analyses to analyze the interviews. Barriers to engaging in the mindfulness training included non-supportive coaches and time constraints, whereas facilitators included supportive teammates and understanding its relevance. Experienced effects of the program included improved focus, concentration, and decision-making in sport; increased focus, memory, and performance in school; and increased presence in private life. The value of teaching young athletes mindfulness thus transcended contexts. Coaches saw no major effects. Athletes and coaches provided specific recommendations for setting up mindfulness training programs in youth sport, including club-integration, direct involvement of coaches, and sport-specific exercises. Based on the study, we provide specific recommendations for setting up mindfulness training programs in youth sport contexts.

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About the Authors

LINE MAJ NIELSEN is manager at SDU Dual Career (Syddansk Elite), helping elite athletes, coaches and referees to combine their sports career with an education program at University of Southern Denmark. Additionally, Line is working as a sport psychology consultant supporting individual athletes, teams, coaches and clubs. Line is a board member of the Danish federation for sport psychology (DIFO).

WALTER STAIANO is Chief Scientific Officer and Scientific Advisor for companies implementing cognitive training to boost performance and stress reduction. He is also a researcher at the University of Valencia (Spain). His research interest involves assessing the impact of physiological, psychological and neurophysiological factors on human tolerance and fatigue in elite sports, military personnel, and the corporate environment; and to develop innovative assessing tools, training methods, and optimal recovery strategies in support for customers’ needs.

ULRICH KIRK is an associate professor at the Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark. Ulrich Kirk is working mindfulness projects in the workplace funded by Velliv Foreningen and using HRV (Heart Rate Variability) and fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) where he is investigating neural and cognitive effects arising from mindfulness training.

KRISTOFFER HENRIKSEN, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, and head of the research unit ‘Learning and talent in sport’ (LETS). His research mainly looks at social relations and their influence on athlete development and performance with an emphasis on successful sporting environments. For more than ten years, his employment has included a specialized function as a sport psychology practitioner in Team Denmark. In this function he has worked to develop high-performance cultures in national teams and mentally strong athletes and coaches. He has supported athletes and teams during several World and European Championships and during the London and Rio Olympic Games. Kristoffer is a board member of the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP).

Offentlig folkehelse­arbeid og idretts- og helseideologien: Folkehelsekoordinatorers erfaringer av samarbeid med frivillige idrettslag

by Anne Tjønndal

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).

Idrett, innovasjon og sosial inkludering: Fremveksten av Mixed Martial Arts i Norge

by Anne Tjønndal

Vol. 9 2018, pages 1–24
Published January 23, 2018


Sport, Innovation and Social Inclusion: The Emergence of Mixed Martial Arts in Norway

Using social innovation as a theoretical framework, this article investigates who participates in Norwegian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) clubs; if the emergence of MMA contributes to increased social inclusion in Norwegian sport; and finally, if and how the emergence of MMA can be interpreted as social innovation. These topics are investigated through a quantitative analysis of Norwegian MMA practitioners. Members of the Norwegian Mixed Martial Arts Federation (NMMAF) were recruited for an electronic survey and 369 respondents were included in the analyses. Descriptive analyses along with a linear regression analyses were performed. The results indicate that men between 20–30 years of age dominates as participants in Norwegian MMA clubs. Additionally, the results indicate that women with higher education participate more frequently compared to women with limited education, while the relationship is reversed for men. The article concludes that while the emergence of Mixed Martial Arts in Norway can be described as an innovation process, it is unclear to what degree it can be interpreted as social innovation. The results indicate that the participation patterns in Norwegian MMA clubs reflect existing tendencies in other Norwegian sports, and the MMA does not appear to contribute to increased social inclusion in Norwegian sport today.

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About the Author

ANNE TJØNNDAL is a PhD Research Fellow at the Faculty of Social Science, Nord university, Bodø in Norway. Her PhD dissertation is about innovation for social inclusion in sport.

Ridtränares kommunikation under privatlektioner i dressyr: En samtalsanalytisk studie

by Charlotte Lundgren

Vol. 8 2017, pages 67–86
Published September 15, 2017

Photo: Gunilla Pravitz


The communication of trainers in equestrian dressage: a multimodal interaction analysis

This study investigates interaction during equestrian dressage trainings, focusing on the trainer’s communication with horse and rider. The study is based on interaction analyses of 15 video recorded training sessions, as well as analyses of interviews and field notes. The results reveal a wide variety of non-verbal communication modalities deployed by trainers sharing their practical expertise with the athletes. Equestrian trainers use activity specific onomatopoetic constructions, paralinguistic resources such as rhythm, pace and prosody, as well as a number of embodied resources where they use the space of the riding arena and various communicative configurations of their own body and the co-present bodies of horse and rider to represent the horse, the rider and/or the equipage as a whole.

The study is a part of a larger project about equitation as a communicative and didactic practice, aiming at making the practical, embodied knowledge that riding and equestrian training rests on explicit, thus enabling reflection and discussion among both practitioners and researchers of communication and equestrianism.

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About the Author

CHARLOTTE LUNDGREN is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Culture and Communication at Linköping University, Sweden. Her research in applied linguistics is focused on professional communication in sports, health care, and other learning-centred activities. Departing from a dialogical perspective on communication, she investigates everyday talk and action to answer questions such as “how is this communicative activity organised?” and “what resources do the participants use in their interaction in this particular communicative activity?”.

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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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.

Sport, Ethno-Politics and Sámi Identity in Northern Norway: The Organizing of the Sámi Sports Movement

by Helge Chr. Pedersen

Vol. 2 2011, pages 45–73
Published April 20, 2011


Although Sámi sport has not attracted a huge sports following, SVL’s activities have been of importance for the individual athlete’s understanding of his/her own (Sámi) identity, and for the collective understanding of what Sámi sports identity entails. In about 2000, Sámi sport also became an important arena for asserting that Sápmi belonged to the international society of indigenous peoples. Through the Viva World Cup and through participation in the Arctic Winter Games (AWG), self-understanding of the Sámi as an indigenous people was strengthened. These international competitions stressed fellowship with other minorities and indigenous peoples, at the same time as marking the contrast with ‘Norwegian’ sport. Thus I would maintain that the traditional view of sport as cementing pre-existing differences between competitors does not apply to the international environments in which the Sámi sports movement participate. On the contrary, these competitions helped to create an understanding of fellowship and a sense of belonging among the competitors. The Viva World Cup and AWG were experienced as events in which competition was characterized by cultural and historical fellowship. This in turn emphasized the contrast with ‘Norwegian’ sport and helped to strengthen the understanding of the Norwegians as “the others”.

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HELGE CHR. PEDERSEN är högskolelektor vid Høgskolen i Finnmark. Han fick sin utbildning där och vid Universitetet i Tromsö. Pedersen undervisar sedan år 2000 i samhällskunskap, historia och kultur, framför allt inom lärarutbildningen. Dessförinnan arbetade han som lärare i historia, samhällskunskap och idrott i gymnasieskolan. Forskningsintresset är särskilt inriktat på idrottens kulturella betydelse, dess betydelse för identitetsskapande och i mötet mellan minoriteter/ursprungsbefolkningar och samhället i stort. Han arbetar på en doktorsexamen i historia som handlar om sport, identitet och etnicitet i Finnmark under de senaste 100 åren. Pedersen har skrivit flera artiklar om vikten av idrott för olika typer av identitetsskapande i nordnorska sammanhang. Det är särskilt vikten av sport för olika lokala, regionala och etniska identiteter som tematiseras. Han har även forskat om engelsk fotbollshuliganism.

How China Plays the Game: A Cultural Perspective on Sports in China

by Chunlei Lu

Vol. 2 2011, pages 1–17
Published January 26, 2011


This article examines the history of Chinese sports in relation to sport development and cultural renaissance against the backdrop of the 2008 Beijing Olympiad. The differences between Chinese and Western sports are analyzed from a cross-cultural perspective. An argument is made that the westernization of traditional Chinese sports has had profound implications upon East-West cultural conflict and negotiation. Post-Olympic and future sports landscapes in China are also discussed. It is concluded that both Chinese and Western sports have their place in human culture: Chinese and Ancient Greek legacies represent the two oldest East-West civilizations, and the passing of the 2008 Olympic torch from Greece’s Olympia to the city of Beijing precisely marks a shift from Western global dominance to a more balanced yin-yang model where both Western and non-Western cultures have international influence.

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About the Author

CHUNLEI LU is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, Brock University. He is also the Co-Director of Confucius Institute at Brock University. He obtained a B.Ed (Shandong Normal University, China), M.Ed (Zhejiang University, China), M.Sc (State University of New York at Brockport, USA), and Ph.D (University of Alberta, Canada). He has teaching experiences in seven universities in the three countries. Based on these cross-cultural experiences, his research interests have concentrated on the overlapped areas of culture, education, and health. He has published one book, six book chapters, and 45 refereed articles.