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Young People´s Influence within the Swedish Sports Movement
Linnéuniversitetet.
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6629-613x
2012 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

General description on research question, objectives and theoretical framework

Most children and young people are involved in the Swedish sports movement, and without all the voluntary coaches, it would not be possible to run this organization. Many of the recruited coaches are young people (RF 2007) and a considerable number of initiatives have been taken to recruit them. The aim of many of these initiatives has been to increase their means of influence. The emphasis on influence can be linked to the fact that the club activities of the Swedish state are seen as an important arena for the civic education of young people (RF 2005, 2011).

The aim of this study is to examine how an initiative to recruit young coaches can help increase young people’s means of influence within the Swedish sports movement. The specific questions are as follows: (i) which young coaches are believed to be capable of having an influence? (ii) what means of influence do the young coaches recruited have?

Previous research shows that it is difficult to increase the influence of young people and the Swedish sports movement has not been particularly successful in this task. The annual general meeting is regarded as an important arena for exerting influence, as is being a club committee member; however, it has been hard attracting young coaches to these arenas. When it comes to being on the committee, it is important to have the right contacts since most people are recruited via a network that is characterized by like-minded people rewarding each other (Fundberg 2009). Therefore, not just anyone is allowed to enter the field, and to attain a position that generates influence, it is necessary for one to have the right symbolic capital. The conclusion drawn by Redelius (2005) is that young people often lack valid capital, i.e. they still do not have the necessary experiences and assets.

The sports movement can be seen as a cultural and social practice where certain values, norms, and actions are more evident than others. In order to understand actions and strategies based on the individual–group relationship and the social context they find themselves in, we are supported by the theories and concepts of Bourdieu.

Bourdieu (1990) describes how the social world consists, on the one hand, of objective structures that also exist outside symbolic systems, such as languages and myths, which depend on the agents’ consciousness and desires, and, on the other hand, symbolic structures, the origin of which forms a function of perceptions, ideas, and actions that the individuals construct. The socially constructed symbol systems act as classification schemes for the social world, which means that the structures are perceived as natural. Based on Bourdieu’s theories, certain social contexts can be regarded as social fields, among them, sport, which is characterized by having its own logic and defining its own rules, rules that everyone within the field must abide by and that often are obvious and taken for granted (Bourdieu 1988, 1997; Munk 1999; Munk & Lind 2004).

Using Bourdieu’s theories makes it possible to penetrate and illustrate the value structures and patterns of behavior in a social practice that the agents are partly unaware of. The starting point is, therefore, that the sports movement is a social arena in which the experiences the agents have incorporated, together with the objective structures, determine who is allowed to enter and influence the field. 

Methodology

The data in this study consists of focus group interviews with young coaches. Ten focus group interviews were conducted with thirty-seven participants, of which twenty were women and seventeen were men. When selecting respondents, a geographical spread, a variety of sports, and both male and female participants were sought.

Focus group interviews have been chosen with the aim of acquiring a deeper understanding of what the encounter between the young coach’s experiences and ideas and the social conditions that regulate the sports movement (Denzin & Lincoln 1998). The interviews were semi-structured and based on four areas: their personal narratives, their leadership experience, the leadership position, and influence. The interviews were recorded and transcribed afterwards. By means of qualitative text analysis, the statements have been examined based on the aims of the study and have subsequently been interpreted with the theoretical reference framework as the starting point.

Results

The results show that if young coaches are to have influence, it is required that both their habitus and capital ‘match’ the social context into which they are entering. Bourdieu believes that power breeds power. One way of maintaining power, which appears successful for those who have a position within a field, is not to change the accepted way of working and, with that, exclude the young coaches from challenging in the battle for positions. Holding a committee post becomes a sort of self-generating system, which means that symbolic capital is assigned to those who are on the committee and already have capital.

The results show that the means of influence increases if one goes on a course, has the support of a club member, or has a position of responsibility within the club. Without the support of important people or going on a course, the room for action is limited. Another strategy that appears favorable in order to increase one’s capital and improve one’s position is to be a member of the youth section or the like. The environment is conducive to the young coaches being molded, the club’s culture being inscribed in the body, and certain actions becoming self-evident.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
Keyword [en]
young coaches, recruiting, influence
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-2403OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-2403DiVA: diva2:556260
Conference
ECER (European Conference on Educational Research), September 18-21 in Cadiz, Spain
Projects
RF: Idrottslyftet
Available from: 2012-09-24 Created: 2012-09-24 Last updated: 2014-05-08Bibliographically approved

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http://www.eera.de/ecer2012/http://www.eera-ecer.de/index.php?id=421&Action=showContributionDetail&conferenceUid=6&contributionUid=17207&cHash=bbc48abded3bd18b2bbc05ab63e353ef

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