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Talent Production in Interaction: Performance Appraisal Interviews in Talent Selection Camps
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8684-3724
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.
2017 (English)In: Communication & Sport, ISSN 2167-4795, E-ISSN 2167-4809, Vol. 5, no 1, 110-129 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In sports, there is an extensive interest in identifying and selecting talented children in order to develop elite adult athletes. The process of selecting and screening talents involves not only physical and technical skills but also efforts to find adequate personality traits. Therefore, different types of performance appraisal interviews (PAIs) are becoming increasingly common within the field. Departing from fieldwork in two selection camps for Swedish youth national teams in soccer and hockey, we will take a closer look at the PAIs employed during these camps. This article takes on a narrative approach, emphasizing PAI as a narrative genre and a framework for a specific form of interaction. Our findings show how eligibility is performed in interaction through following three practices: (i) showcasing gratitude without tipping into flattery, (ii) using temporality as a way of displaying developmental potential, and (iii) adopting the role of the self-reflecting subject. This genre of interviews not only produces certain practices but also preferred subject positions and narratives. The PAI is thus a narrative genre where the players are encouraged to perform talent in order to appear selectable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 5, no 1, 110-129 p.
Keyword [en]
talent selection, performance appraisal interviews, narrative analysis, small stories
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137709DOI: 10.1177/2167479515591789OAI: diva2:1063643
Available from: 2017-01-10 Created: 2017-01-10 Last updated: 2017-01-31Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Talking talent: Narratives of youth sports selection
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Talking talent: Narratives of youth sports selection
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In sports, there seems to be an eternal interest in discovering young talents and refining them into elite adult athletes. The dilemma of selecting talent, while at the same time ensuring every child´s right to participate, needs to be addressed and have consequences in social practice. This dissertation elucidates the discourse of selection and the process of selecting young sporting talents during final selection camps for youth national teams in football, hockey and floorball in Sweden. More specifically, the aim is to analyze how talent selection is organizationally legitimized, how “selectability” is produced in interaction and how specific narratives are used in success-stories. The empirical material includes research interviews, performance appraisal interviews (between district or national team coaches and the player) and field studies during ongoing final selection camp. Drawing on a discursive-narrative approach, the aim is to investigate how selection is discursively legitimized and, by using narrative analysis, how positioning in talk-in-interaction functions.

The first article investigates the construction of legitimate selection within the Swedish Sports Confederation by analyzing their organizational documents, sport journals and literature for coach education. The findings show how a specific set of narratives are used to legitimize selection and how legitimacy works both individually to those within the selection system and on a wider arena of welfare politics. The second article investigates the co-construction of selectability in small story-interaction during interviews between the coach and a player in the final selection camp. The analyses highlight how this narrative genre produces certain stories and preferred positions. The third article analyzes how the young participants, in research interviews during final selection camp, uses discursively shared narratives to produce personal stories of success. The findings illustrate how the personal stories of success are balancing the dilemmatic space, positioning yourself as outstanding and at the same time appear a humble team player.

The principal contribution of this dissertation is to show how talent is organizationally legitimized and how selectability is produced in interaction, as well as illustrate how specific stories are used in stories of success. This work investigates the discursive framework for selection and how rationalities for talent selection are produced (and reproduced) and co-constructed in narrative interaction. In this apparatus of selection it takes more than physical talent to be chosen; it takes talking talent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University, 2017. 139 p.
talent, selection, talent in sports, narrative analysis, narrative genre, discourse, discursively shared narratives, positioning
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-138204 (URN)978-91-7649-616-9 (ISBN)978-91-7649-617-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-03-10, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2017-02-15 Created: 2017-01-17 Last updated: 2017-02-08Bibliographically approved

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