Sociology of sports

Social Justice and Inequities in Sport and Physical Activity in Times of Uncertainty (session 2 of 2)

June 29, 2021 15:00
June 29, 2021 16:30

Siegfried Nagel, University of Bern; Monica Aceti, University of Basel and Fribourg; Markus Lamprecht, Lamprecht und Stamm Sozialforschung und Beratung


Lars Lenze¹⁻², Claudia Klostermann¹, Markus Lamprecht³ & Siegfried Nagel²

¹School of Education, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland; ²Institute of Sport Science, University of Bern; ³Lamprecht und Stamm Sozialforschung und Beratung

Philippe Longcham; Marion Braizaz; Amal Tawfik; Kevin Toffel

Haute École de Santé Vaud, HESAV // HES-SO (Lausanne)

Anne Marcellini, Justine Scheidegger & Laurent Paccaud,

Centre de recherche sur les parcours de vie et les inégalités – LINES-, Université de Lausanne

Regular sport as a meaningful leisure-time activity can play an important role in health promotion, social integration and education for modern societies. Sport sociology has long been concerned with social inequality and the opportunities for and accessibility to sport and physical activity. Although campaigns such as “sports for all” and the increasing interest in health sport have broadened participation rates for certain population groups, e.g. women and the elderly, there are still inequities when it comes to participation in regular sport activities. Some social groups are underrepresented, particularly within club sport, including people with low education and income, people with disabilities or migration background (for current figures see Lamprecht, Bürgi & Stamm, 2020). The current health pandemic and economic uncertainties may impact on the wider access and practice of sport and physical activity. To understand and analyse this impact and the broader concerns of social justice in sport and physical activity, we encourage the submission of papers on the following issues and topics:

  • Theoretical concepts and critical reflections on inequities in sport as well as approaches to reduce and hinder such phenomena (e.g. diversity management);
  • Empirical studies that examine participation and/or successful social integration in sport, in particular within organised sport (e.g. clubs, fitness centres), and those that have specific focus on certain target groups (e.g. women, people with low income / migration background / handicap), or consider relevant social, organisational and structural factors; 
  • Longitudinal as well as lifelong development of participation in sport and physical activity;
  • Case studies that analyse and evaluate programs and initiatives to promote the equal participation of certain target groups (see above) in sport and physical activity;
  • Analyses of the effects of the health crisis on sport and its adaptation in associations, schools, firms, etc.;
  • Case studies on adherence to sport or physical activity in semi-confinement situations: activity rate, barriers and resources to practice, adaptation to online sports, fitness or well-being offers, etc.;
  • Prospective reflections on the sustainability of sports organization and the emergence of new physical and sport practices or lifestyle (home office and “healthy-sporty” smart jobs) to better cope with the COVID context.

Taking up and terminating leisure-time physical activity in life course - the role of life events from the familial and occupational life domain

Lars Lenze⁽¹⁾⁽²⁾, Claudia Klostermann⁽¹⁾, Markus Lamprecht⁽³⁾ & Siegfried Nagel⁽²⁾
⁽¹⁾School of Education, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland; ⁽²⁾Institute of Sport Science, University of Bern; ⁽³⁾Lamprecht und Stamm Sozialforschung und Beratung

The positive health-related effects of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and sport participation are well known (e.g. Coenders et al., 2017), and considering the high health costs caused by physical inactivity (Ding et al., 2016), promotion of participation is also important from an economic perspective. As such, long-term sport participation is desirable, however, research reports that it is not very stable over the life course (Telama, 2009). Changing life circumstances introduced by life events comprise one cause for this instability (Allender et al., 2006; Engberg et al., 2012), yet despite this, differentiated analysis considering multiple life phases, terminating and taking up sport participation, and multiple life events experienced simultaneously are still missing.

The life course research with its interdependent life domains (Bernardi et al., 2019) and a sociological focus (cf. Mayer, 2009) builds the theoretical approach. In doing so, this study, funded by the SNSF, investigates how life events from the familial and occupational life domain are related with changes (terminating & taking up) in sport participation from the leisure-related life domain. 

Therefore, n = 1857 Swiss inhabitants (age 16-76) were interviewed by telephone (CATI-method), answering a quantitative retrospective questionnaire. Sport participation and life events were measured in a binary way (active/inactive resp. life event experienced or not) per year, all over the past 15 years of one’s life.

Using multilevel discrete-time event-history analysis (Steele, 2011), all analysis are controlled for sex, level of education, previous (in-)activity duration, the ratio of active years to age, and age. Regarding life events from the familial life domain, preliminary results show relations for experiencing starting a romantic relationship and becoming parents on terminating sport participation, whereas ending a romantic relationship goes hand in hand with taking up sport participation. Looking at life events from the occupational life domain, preliminary results indicate a relationship between starting an education and ending a job on terminating sport participation. Concurrently, ending a job is associated with an increased uptake of sport participation, as well as retirement. When the number of simultaneously experienced life events are considered, two and more life events from both life domains show a relation with terminating sport participation.

Differentiated analysis for sex and age group will be presented at the conference.

It can already be stated, that the postulated interdependencies between life domains occur when regarding life events from the familial and occupational life domain and related changes in sport participation too. Life events do not only imply adverse effects for sport participation but also can be a window for a positive change. The differentiated results are discussed and can help to promote sport participation when experiencing life events.

Keywords: Sport participation; multilevel analysis; retrospective; health promotion  

Uncertainty and inequality of body trajectories among former top sportsmen and women

Philippe Longcham; Marion Braizaz; Amal Tawfik; Kevin Toffel
Haute École de Santé Vaud, HESAV // HES-SO (Lausanne)

For top sportsmen and women, uncertainty is something they experience in their flesh and blood. The sports career is in fact an area where the relationship between investment and profits is particularly uncertain: the risks represented by extreme competition and the arbitrariness of certain selection are compounded by the high risk of injury, to which must be added the brevity of careers linked to their adjustment to biological temporality.

Based on interviews with 30 former top-level sportsmen and women living in Switzerland, the paper highlights the inequality of body trajectories in the face of this uncertainty. These inequalities are particularly evident when bodily challenges occur (injuries, levelling-off or decline in performance) and the question of whether to continue or stop a sports career arises. Whereas athletes who have alternative forms of capital (cultural, economic or social) tend to give up their careers fairly quickly, those who can only count on their "sporting capital" (Forté & Mennesson, 2012; Fleuriel & Schotté, 2011) tend on the contrary to persevere by submitting to a logic of urgency (Vaud & Papin, 2012) which exposes them to the chronicity of injuries and mental saturation.

Whether it concerns practices related to diet, physical appearance, physical activities or body care, these inequalities in the face of uncertainty produce profound effects on individuals' relationship to their bodies, effects that manifest themselves well beyond the sports career.

Keywords: sport, body, socialisation, sport capital, inequalities

Sociohistoire de l’accès aux sports d’hiver des personnes ayant des déficiences physiques ou visuelles. Les apports des archives de la Télévision Suisse Romande.

Anne Marcellini, Justine Scheidegger & Laurent Paccaud, 
Centre de recherche sur les parcours de vie et les inégalités – LINES-, Université de Lausanne

Après avoir mené avec l’équipe « Santé, Éducation et Situations de handicap » (Santesih) de l’Université de Montpellier une histoire de l’institutionnalisation du mouvement handisport (1954-2008) (Ruffié et Ferez, 2013), puis analysé les développements de ce mouvement au 21ème siècle (Marcellini et Villoing, 2014), notre recherche se poursuit dans le cadre d’un projet FNS, à l’Université de Lausanne, à partir de sources audiovisuelles centrées sur la Suisse (Marcellini & Paccaud, 2018). En mettant au jour et en analysant des séquences médiatisées de cette histoire et leurs conditions de production, cette communication propose de montrer comment les archives télévisuelles peuvent nourrir la sociohistoire des mouvements sportifs de personnes vivant avec des déficiences. A partir de la focale des sports d’hiver, et en particulier de la médiatisation des premiers Jeux mondiaux d’hiver des handicapés physiques de Courchevel (France) en 1972, puis des championnats mondiaux des sports d’hiver pour handicapés physiques qui se sont tenus en Suisse en 1982, nous interrogerons : 1) d’une part les conditions de production et de diffusion des documents audiovisuels identifiés, 2) d’autre part les contenus de ces documents - mises en scène, personnages mis en avant, organisations sociales citées etc. Les savoirs nouveaux amenés par les analyses de ces sources audiovisuelles seront repris pour souligner l’intérêt heuristique d’une telle exploitation de fonds d’archives télévisuelles.