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Teachers in school sports: between the field of education and sport?
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur. Nationella forskarskolan i idrottsvetenskap, Göteborgs universitet.
2016 (English)In: Sport, Education and Society, ISSN 1357-3322, E-ISSN 1470-1243, Vol. 21, no 6, 907-923 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

According to the cultural sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, gaining access to a social space or a position within a social space requires a specific capital. For teachers, this is normally indicated by a valid teaching certificate with relevant subject knowledge. However, when no qualified teachers are available, which is the case for the subject of school sports in Sweden, other assets gain recognition. Drawing on Bourdieu's conceptual framework, this paper examined the conditions for school sports in Sweden, and based on questionnaires answered by 109 teachers, explored the competencies, education and backgrounds teachers in upper secondary school sports possess. The paper address the question: what valuable resources are required to become a teacher of school sports and gain recognition as symbolic capital? The results show that while school sports in Sweden are carried out through a school subject and thus regulated by the government, it is influenced by both the fields of education and sport. Furthermore, the questionnaire results show that a majority of the teachers are employed as coaches instead of teachers and that less than half of them (45%) have a teacher education background, while 95% have a coaching education background. However, the results also show that teachers assessed their competencies for teaching school sports as high, especially with regard to competencies in specific sport skills. In conclusion, this paper shows how coaching education and experience in competitive sports are an important resource required to become a teacher in school sports and is thus recognized as symbolic capital. Therefore, school sports cannot be viewed as a legitimate part of the field of education but can be viewed as a part of the field of sport.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 21, no 6, 907-923 p.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-3416DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2014.969228ISI: 000378341900007OAI: diva2:740933

At the time of Magnus Ferry's dissertation the article was submitted.

Available from: 2014-08-26 Created: 2014-08-26 Last updated: 2016-08-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Idrottsprofilerad utbildning: i spåren av en avreglerad skola
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Idrottsprofilerad utbildning: i spåren av en avreglerad skola
2014 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
In the wake of a deregulated school system : school sports in Sweden
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the Swedish school sports system, a system which has evolved since the beginning of the 1970s, the prevalence of which has increased significantly at all school levels since the mid-1990s and today attracts a large number of pupils and teachers.

Starting with the neoliberal discourse which has had a major impact on the development of the Swedish school system, and inspired by Pierre Bourdieu’s theoretical framework, the reasons for the emergence of the school sports system and the reasons why schools chose to specialise in sport is described. Also examined are the pupils and teachers involved and the mechanics behind their participation.

Empirically, this thesis is based on registry data, telephone interviews with principals at schools offering school sports and questionnaires responses from pupils and teachers involved in school sports.

The results of the thesis suggest that the main reason school sports has become so common is closely connected to increased competition on the local school market; by offering school sports, schools have found a possible way to attract more pupils. Furthermore, the results show that the social characteristics of pupils who have been selected or have chosen to participate in school sports differs from the national population of pupils and participants in sports clubs. This suggests that the available supply of school sports is better adapted to some pupils’ social backgrounds and habitus. In relation to the teachers involved, the results show that other resources than what is normally required to become a teacher is valued in school sports. Instead of a teacher certificate, a coaching education and experiences in competitive sport is valued highly which suggests that this is recognised as symbolic capital for teachers in school sports.

In conclusion this thesis demonstrates that school sports is influenced by both the fields of education and sport, and that the increased supply of school sports has implications for both fields.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet, 2014
, Gothenburg studies in educational sciences, ISSN 0436-1121 ; 355
Bourdieu, field of education, field of sport, neoliberal discourse, pupils, school sports, teachers
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-3413 (URN)978-91-7346-795-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-09-19, Aulan, GIH, Lidingövägen 1, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Forskningslinjen Utbildning
Available from: 2014-08-29 Created: 2014-08-26 Last updated: 2016-09-19

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