Conference Agenda

RN28_02: Sport as a social tool
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Alessandro Porrovecchio, University of the Littoral Opal Coast
Location: BS.1.25
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, First Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road


Midnight-Football: The Rationalities and Technologies of Discipline in a Sports-Based Intervention in Suburban Sweden

David Ekholm, Magnus Dahlstedt

Linköping University, Sweden

Following increased segregation and social exclusion in the suburban landscape of Sweden, social inclusion has become recurrently spotlighted as a central objective in social policy. Today, sports-based interventions have emerged as a common feature of social policy, often promoting social pedagogical objectives targeting youth in distressed urban areas. Based on interviews with representatives of two midnight-football interventions and on-site observations, this paper aims to explore the social pedagogical rationalities and technologies imbued and deployed in the intervention. Guided by a Foucauldian understanding of power, we outline two main technologies of discipline in the intervention, perceivably enabling social inclusion of urban youth. These technologies are underpinned and enabled by problematizations of the areas and the youth targeted, focusing on notions of risk. Youth are portrayed as subjected to the risks of the segregated society and simultaneously posing a risk to community – thus forming an object of intervention. First, technologies of control provide a structure of time and space, diverting youth from sites of risk and disorder as well as diverting will of and attention from delinquency. Second, technologies of hierarchical observation refer to how the activities are sites of participant and coach relations, where coaches observe, examine as well as role-model the conduct and discipline of youth. Together, these problematizations and technologies produce a specific conduct among the participating youth, facilitating social inclusion. The technologies and rationalities outlined are discussed in relation to contemporary notions of democracy and citizenship, inclusion and equality. Particularly with a focus on contemporary forms of youth social work in suburban Sweden.

Social Practice Theory as a Toolbox in Children’s Physical Activity Program

Leene Korp, Marko Uibu

University of Tartu, Estonia

To identify and universalise intervention methods that fruitfully tackle complex public health challenges like insufficient physical activity (PA), a functional toolbox becomes crucial.

In the original intervention programme Schools in Motion that was launched in 2016 to tackle insufficient PA of Estonian children by changing the school culture, elements of social practice theory have been introduced to the schools.

Based on a case study of the programme, the paper suggests that concepts and models from social practice theory are at hand for detecting initial situation of a complex problem of insufficient PA during the school days, for intervening and for analysing the results of the intervention.

Using examples of initiating outdoor break times in participating schools, the presentation introduces (1) three-element-model of Shove et al (2005/2012) that maps and monitors the problematic social practice in focus; (2) practice change model of Vihalemm et al (2015) that helps to design trajectory of practice change; and (3) the notion of agency that successfully deals with involving key stakeholders and with potential resistance.

Relying on those concepts and models, a so-called practice-based approach can be formed that might function as a promising toolbox for dealing with various public health issues.

Refugees, Physical Activity and Sport. A Systematic Literature Review of Qualitative Research

Enrico Michelini, Birte Krause

TU Dortmund, Germany

Since 2011, the massive forced migration from the Middle East and North Africa into Europe has spurred discussions on refugees, which include their post-migration participation in sport. This paper systematically reviews recent literature based on qualitative research concerning refugees, physical activity and sport. Utilizing a search of major electronic databases, we identified 25 eligible sources on this topic. Basing on their discipline, content and aim, we separated them in two groups: a health sciences group (15), which is concerned with the physical, mental and social health of refugees and has leading health goals; and a sociology group (10), which has broader explorative goals and focuses on social interactions of refugees in and through sport. After describing their main features, this paper separately analyses topics specific and common to these two groups. The discussion explores similarities, differences and bridges between the two groups. This constitutes the basis to analyse critically the state of the art of qualitative research, identify research gaps and outline a future scientific agenda.

Sport and New Digital Communities

Loredana maria anna Tallarita


Sport has become an increasingly a phenomenon “Social”. The emerging sports practices highlight the interweaving of open-air running and the use of gaming apps for fitness. Open-air fitness lovers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (Appadurai 1990, 1996, Horne 2006, Sassatelli 2010) advertise weekly events to train together, experimenting with a more active approach to sport through the web. If training together is the motivating effect, the sharing on the social network of the athletic performance is the new trend. The objective of the research is to investigate the relationship that has been established between the use of social networks, the applications of digital fitness and open-air fitness, using Palermo Parkrun community as a discriminator. The research was conducted with a qualitative methodology. The field of research (Glaser and Strauss 1967, 2009) and the identification of the case study (Yin, 2014) made it possible to identify the usual runners of the Palermo circuit: Parco Uditore and Foro Italico, registered on Facebook and on the Parkrun website. A set of 60 indpth-interviews were conducted inside of the Palermo Parkrun community. The symbolic meanings (Geertz 1973) that are emerged from the indepht-interviews (Schwartz, Jacobs 1979) have allowed us to understand the universe of values thanks to the connections established between members and the use of social networks and their impact on sports, health and on the links built within the community.

Keywords: Parkrun, Body, Health, Social network, Community.