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In the wake of a deregulated school system: school sports in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2015 (English)In: Abstract book, Göteborg: University of Gothenburg , 2015, 161-161 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Since the mid-1990s, the supply of school sports has increased significantly at all schoollevels in Sweden and today attracts a large number of pupils and teachers. This developmentis in the paper described in relation to major school reforms during the last three decades;reforms that have meant that the Swedish school system has been decentralized, marketadjusted, and privatised. With staring point in the neo-liberal discourse and inspired by PierreBourdieu’s theoretical framework, this paper analyse the reasons for the emergence of theSwedish school sports system and the reasons why schools chose to specialise in sport.Based on registry data and telephone interviews with 50 principals at schools offering schoolsports, this paper argues that a production and consumer fields have emerged, in whichdifferent producers (school companies, local schools and principals) offer different products(programs, courses) to potential consumers (pupils and parents). In light of this development,the paper argues that the main reason for the schools to offer sports is linked to increasedcompetition on the local school markets. By specializing in sports, the schools have thusfound a way to cope with the increased competition in the school market. In addition thereasons why specifically sports have emerged as a popular specialisation area are partlyexplained by the large number of participants in sport in Sweden, which means that there aremany potential consumers. Another explanation is the many positive effects of participation insports attributed by the sports evangelists in society. By offering school sports, schools canthereby appeal to many different needs and tastes.In conclusion this paper show that school sports, through the described changes of the schoolsystem, have emerged as a potential commodity for sale at the local school markets, and thatthe primary function of school sports is to recruit pupils to the local schools. In the wake ofthe deregulated school system, sports in schools have thus evolved from activities that areexercised primarily as a compulsory subject to a competitive tool in the local quasi-markets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: University of Gothenburg , 2015. 161-161 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-101025OAI: diva2:795940
NERA 2015, the 43rd Annual Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association, 4-6 March 2015, Göteborg
Available from: 2015-03-17 Created: 2015-03-17 Last updated: 2015-05-06Bibliographically approved

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Ferry, Magnus
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