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Den svenska sporthjälten: Kontinuitet och förändring i medieberättelsen om den svenska sporthjälten från 1920-talet till idag
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Sport History Research Group.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7012-3255
2014 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Swedish Sports Hero : Change and Stability in the Media Story of the Swedish Sports Hero from 1920’s to the Present time (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines the media construction of five Swedish sports heroes, active from the 1920’s to the beginning of the 2000’s. The analyses are based on the assumption that sports heroes are social products that reflect the dominating ideals and values of a society or culture, and that the media plays an important role in this process. Firstly, the media provide the attention necessary for successful athletes to become publically known and, secondly, they create the stories in which some athletes are represented as heroes while others are represented as villains. The use of narrative theory in this thesis builds on the idea that a story is not merely a way of presenting information, but a way of creating meaning. A person becomes a hero when he or she is described as a hero in a heroic tale. To analyze the media construction of sports heroes is thus to analyze the media stories of them as heroes.

In order to examine and compare the construction of sports heroes in the media, articles from daily press and magazines as well as broadcasts in radio and television have been analyzed. The results show that although each of the five heroes were valued and represented according to ideals and values specific of his or her time, there are similarities in the media representation of them that suggest that there is some degree of stability in the narrative of the Swedish sports hero over time. In many ways, the story of the Swedish sports hero is still intact since the 1920’s. However, this story is an ideal story and the process of constructing athletes as heroes has proved to be filled with compromise and contradictions. It can be argued that the media is more concerned with fitting the athletes into an already existing narrative of the Swedish sports hero than with representing them as individuals.

Seen in a wider historical context, sports heroes represent an example of how national identity is constructed in the media. National identity is, as many theorists have shown, a dynamic and relational process. What is considered typically Swedish thus changes over time and in different contexts. In this process the social status of sports heroes helps to stabilize as well as legitimize dominating ideas of Swedish national identity.   

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Idrottsforum.org , 2014.
Series
Avhandlingsserie för Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, 01
Series
Malmö studies in sport sciences, 15
Keyword [en]
sports, hero, star, narrative, media, national identity
National Category
History
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-3312ISBN: 978-91-85645-15-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-3312DiVA: diva2:716388
Public defence
2014-06-04, Aulan, GIH, Lidingövägen 1, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Avhandlingens baksidestext:

I denna avhandling analyseras medieberättelserna om fem av Sveriges största och mest hyllade sportstjärnor genom tiderna: Harry Persson, Ingemar Johansson, Björn Borg, Ingemar Stenmark och Carolina Klüft. De var stjärnor i olika sportgrenar i olika tidsepoker. Gemensamt för dem är att de beskrevs som mer än sportstjärnor i medierna. De var nationella hjältar som förkroppsligade svenska ideal och värderingar. När de nådde sina största triumfer uppfattades deras segrar inte som personliga utan som kollektiva segrar i medierna. Den ära och prestige som följde med deras VM-triumfer, OS-guld och Wimbledonsegrar tillföll hela nationen.

Hjältar framställs ofta som representanter för universella och tidlösa ideal och värderingar. I praktiken visar forskning att hjältar är kulturella produkter som avspeglar de ideal och värderingar som dominerar för stunden, och att medierna spelar en central roll i skapandet av nationella sporthjältar. Det är medierna som förmedlar nyheter om sport och det är medierna som skapar de berättelser som beskriver vissa sportstjärnor som hjältar.

Med berättelsen som analysverktyg analyserar John Hellström mediekonstruktionen av fem svenska sportstjärnor som alla fått status som nationella hjältar i Sverige. Genom att analysera sporthjältar verksamma under olika tidsepoker visar han inte bara hur mediekonstruktionen av svenska sporthjältar förändrats över tid, vi får också nya insikter om sportens betydelse för skapandet av nationell identitet i Sverige i ett historiskt perspektiv.

John S. Hellström är historiker och idrottsvetare vid Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan. Den svenska sporthjälten är hans doktorsavhandling.

Available from: 2014-05-09 Created: 2014-05-08 Last updated: 2016-03-14Bibliographically approved

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