Sports and social issues

In line with the problem-based approach at Aalborg University the Sports and Social Issues group (SSI) is gathered around a shared interest in identifying, examining and producing practice-oriented knowledge about issues that are significant to the participation of individuals and groups in sports and physical activity.

These are social issues that are at play in relations between individuals (micro-level), between institutions and groups (meso-level), and at the societal level (macro-level). At micro-level, we inquire into issues such as social inclusion and exclusion processes that influence adolescents’ participation (and non-participation) in sporting communities. At meso-level, our focus is on organizational issues in policies and programs directed towards involving individuals and groups in sports and physical activity and towards athletic development, and at macro-level our research relates to broader societal issues such as globalization, migration and inequality in access to active and healthy lives.

Examining sports and social issues we conduct studies from a range of perspectives:

  • Members of the group conduct sociological and anthropological studies about current issues such as social integration of individuals with different socio-economic backgrounds and/or ethnicities in sports and physical activity, as well as physical education programs. Also, we examine the social issues at play when some adolescents are identified and developed as talents, while others drop out of sports and physical activity.
  • Other members of the group conduct psychological and pedagogical studies that examine issues that are crucial in sporting experiences (e.g. learning, social recognition, creativity and joy). Issues that make sports and physical activity meaningful to individuals and groups and encourage them to become and/or to remain physically active.

Our research informs policies and practices in organized and self-organized sports at recreational and elite level as well as physical education and physical activity settings.