Tag Archive for sports

The framing of orthorexia nervosa in Swedish daily newspapers: A longitudinal qualitative content analysis

by Linn Håman, Natalie Barker-Ruchti, Göran PatrikssonEva-Carin Lindgren

Vol. 7 2016, pages 27–46
Published March 30, 2016


This study explored and elucidated how orthorexia is framed in Swedish daily newspapers with a focus on characteristics of orthorexia. Key questions include: 1) how do the newspaper articles connect exercise with orthorexia? and 2) what trends in depicting exercise in relation to orthorexia do the newspaper articles represent over time? The method used was a longitudinal qualitative content analysis guided by the framing theory. We analyzed 166 articles published between 1998 and 2013. Our analysis revealed that orthorexia originally was framed as an eating disorder and subsequently included unhealthy exercise. Two trend shifts could be identified: in 2004, exercise was added as an element and in 2013 extreme exercise trends were described to influence the increase of orthorexia. The findings indicate that Swedish newspapers extend Bratman’s definition and depict orthorexia indiscriminately to describe a range of different behavioral characteristics. These results are discussed in terms of the idea of “healthism” and general health trends in society.

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About the Authors

LINN HÅMAN is a lecturer at School of Health and Welfare, Halmstad University, Sweden. She received her PhD in 2016 with the thesis “Extreme pursuit of health: An explorative study of orthorexia nervosa”. Her dissertation deals with how orthorexia nervosa is described, understood and reported. Current research interests concern personal trainers’ view of healthy/unhealthy practices in the fitness gym.

NATALIE BARKER-RUCHTI is Associate Professor in Sports Coaching at the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science at the University of Gothenburg. Her research interests lie in understanding how sport coaches and coaching affect athlete learning, identity and wellbeing, in particular in high-performance settings. Critical sociology is important to her and in a project linking sport and adolescents with immigration backgrounds, she has employed the concept of healthism.

GÖRAN PATRIKSSON is professor at the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He has carried out a large amount of research in the sport area for more than forty years. Among the topics covered are studies of socialisation into, through and out of youth sports. He has conducted several investigations of physical education (PE) teaching in Sweden and other countries in and outside of Europe. Another interest concerns careers in elite sports, especially career endings. Göran has done many evaluations of large governmental projects aiming to increase physical activity among children and young people.

EVA-CARIN LINDGREN is Associate Professor at the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She has conducted both qualitative and intervention studies in the areas of health promotion (physical activity, body and empowerment) in school settings and sports. Her current research interests also focus on how coaches express their construction of children’s team sports and how children talk about sport from a child’s perspective, how sport clubs and coaches maximise participation of children and youths from an intersectional perspective, and the learning and career paths of top-level female football coaches.

Varför är det tjejer som spelar damfotboll? Om formande, genus och (re-)produktion av ojämställd idrott

by Jesper Fundberg & Lars Lagergren

Vol. 6 2015, pages 65–83
Published September 3, 2015


Can Girls Become Footballers? About formation of gender and (re-)production of inequality

The aim of this article is to discuss the formation of female elite athletes as a gender shaping process through a power perspective. The concepts productive power and biopower together with theories of male hegemony are applied in the analysis. Interviews, observations and surveys were methods employed to collect the empirical material. The processes of selection in an elite soccer club were examined in order to understand how expectations are communicated and filled with meaning, and which words and designations were used by leaders and parents when communicating with the young players. Our data showed that the players received a much clearer response as girls than as soccer players. Neither leaders nor parents saw soccer as a career choice. Put together, this creates a paradox: it’s only the girl who resists and challenges these low expectations by creating her own, that can reach the top level as a professional footballer and not as a girl or woman playing soccer.

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About the Authors

JESPER FUNDBERG is PhD in Ethnology and Associate Professor of Sport Sciences at Malmö University. His research focuses on gender and diversity aspects of sports.

LARS LAGERGREN is PhD in Technology and social change and Associate Professor of Sport Sciences and Leisure Studies. Research interests are adult organisation and governance of youth sports and youth 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.