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Vinnarskallar och träningsnarkomaner: Kroppsideal, drivkrafter för träning och social positionering bland högaktiva idrottare
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2011 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


The purpose of this essay is to discover the driving forces in top athletes, concerning training, body image and social positioning. Furthermore the object is to study how important being fit is for social reasons in today’s society. The athletes have been interviewed face-to-face and described their personal drive regarding training, their goals and the significance of the sport. They have also described how they see the image of the ideal body that currently exists within the field of sport and society and how training affects their own body image. The interviews also covered views of the physically inactive as a group and their personal thoughts concerning this. Status varies regarding driving forces and some are considered more favorably than others, in other words they are the ‘good driving forces´. The most important positive driving forces that have been highlighted are the

pleasure principle and the challenge principle

. The pleasure principle is characterized by the sport itself having its own intrinsic value, while possible positive effects connected with or after training are secondary. The activity alone is a real pleasure. The challenge is characterized by a desire to test oneself and see how far one can go. Competing is connected with personal achievement and not with comparisons with others. At the same time the feeling of winning is emphasized as an important driving force and these factors (challenge and win) tend to act simultaneously.

Driving forces that are seen to be low-status, i.e. the ´bad driving forces’ are

aesthetic reasons as well as winning for competitive reasons. Training for aesthetic reasons in order to be body beautiful is not considered a positive driving force.

On the other hand it is pointed out that looking fresh and healthy is desirable. This is described as personal characteristics such as ´nice’ or ‘fresh’ and not as a physical description of someone’s body. Competitions are essential but should be seen first and foremost as proof that training gives results, and not to prove oneself better than anyone else. However the thrill of winning a competition is described as important and worthwhile. Top athletes inspire each other and are not only seen as role models but also help form one’s own identity and social position. Being physically active in sports is seen as a lifestyle and is the most important part of a social group and its identity. This is emphasized by distancing oneself from the physically inactive as a group and their characteristics. This group is described in terms of being overweight, unhappy and unsocial. They use food and alcohol excessively, do not take personal responsibility for their future health and are unwilling to change.


Sports, training, the ideal body, social positioning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 74 p.
Keyword [en]
Sports, training, the ideal body, social positioning
Keyword [sv]
idrott, träning, kroppsideal, social positionering
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-77257OAI: diva2:530826
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-06-26 Created: 2012-06-04 Last updated: 2012-06-26Bibliographically approved

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