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Searching for Talent: The Construction of Legitimate Selection in Sports
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.
2015 (English)In: Scandinavian Sports Studies Forum, ISSN 2000-088X, Vol. 6, 85-105 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article analyzes talent selection within Swedish Sports. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which this process of legitimacy is produced in the case of children and adolescents. The article involves a discourse analytical approach where organizational policy documents, annuals for operation, educational coach literature constitute the corpus of data. The aim is to document how problems of legitimizing talent selection are handled within the organization through the use of different discursive repertoires. The purpose is to deconstruct explicit statements and underlying suppositions through with the current process of selection is legitimized.

The research material allows us access into how the process for talent selection constitutes a significant part of a discursive apparatus of selection. In order to make the process of selection appear neutral, discursive work is played out in order to make the process appear fair and unbiased. Furthermore, this article shows how the production of the legitimate selection works in two directions, both individually and politically. The process of selection is being rhetorically displayed as legitimate to those within the system, as well as a Swedish egalitarian welfare politic at large.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 6, 85-105 p.
Keyword [en]
talent selection, apparatus, constructing legitimacy, policy analysis, technicization
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Child and Youth Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-121744OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-121744DiVA: diva2:861117
Available from: 2015-10-15 Created: 2015-10-15 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.
Keyword
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
Identifiers
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)
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Supervisors
Note

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: 2017-08-25Bibliographically approved

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