Nuorten urheilupolut : tutkimus kilpaurheiluun sosiaalistumisen normeista, pääomista ja toimijuudesta
Published inStudies in sport, physical education and health
Sport is a popular activity among Finnish children and adolescents. Junior sport encompasses various objectives, and one of its functions is to generate the prerequisites for competitive sport and an elite sports career. This study examines socialization into competitive sport. It approaches the socialization process as a sports path that denotes the sequence of states and events in sport as part of one’s life course. The study emphasizes experiences and through them the meaning-giving and lifeworld of the young athletes themselves. Hence, the aim of the study is to create a sociological interpretation of athlete development. The research data comprise a survey of 2,430 registered participants in sport aged 14 to 15 years, and interviews with 26 young athletes aiming at elite sports careers. The survey was analysed by statistical methods, focusing on comparison between two groups at different participation levels. The interviews were analysed with content analysis to formulate a sports paths typology for young athletes and to categorize their experiences in sport. The results of the study were divided into four research papers concerning (1) the role and significance of parents, (2) the sports paths of participants in team sport in relation to different sports and the sporting context, (3) types of life-historical sports paths, and (4) significant experiences in sport. The results of the substudies were abstracted and then synthesized into a social construction of sports paths within a framework of systemic norms, capitals and agency. The following systemic norms were identified: socialization in a single sport and specialization, success rationality and dedication to sport, and participation in the talent development activities of sports systems. These norms of a rationalized sports system created a framework for acting in the social field of sport and the accumulation of cultural capital along a sports path, so-called sports capital. However, young athletes still interpreted systemic norms from the perspective of their lifeworld. Social capital in sports paths was represented by three areas: family as the first socializer in sport, friends as playmates and later as peers in the world of competitive sport, and coaches as enablers of athletic development. These social relationships were interpreted as resources for sports capital. In the formulation of the sports path, the dimension of agency emerged as the power to make choices and the capability to utilize capitals. In previous studies on athlete development, the dimension of agency and the understanding of the lifeworld of adolescents has remained scarce. ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
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- Väitöskirjat