Football Fitness - a figurational study of a new type of leisure football as a meaningful activity for men

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This article offers a nuanced exploration of Football Fitness (FF), a newer ‘sport for all' concept carried out in associative sport clubs in Denmark. The aim of the study was to examine FF as a meaningful leisure activity for men. Seven focus group interviews were conducted with 26 heterogeneous male FF players aged 24 to 76. Data were analysed by means of thematic network analysis within the interpretive tradition. Drawing on figurational sociology, more specifically Elias and Dunning’s perspective on leisure sport as a quest for excitement, and Connell’s theory of masculinities, we present three elements of the empirical material all highlighting the social significance of the FF concept. 1: The men’s fight for recognition in the club, 2: Competition as a play element and 3: Social bonding and sport as a male preserve. The findings of the study demonstrate a hegemony of multiple masculinities in football clubs. The play-pleasure values associated with the FF concept does not receive much recognition compared to traditional competitive football. Consequently, the FF players feel like the strange newcomers, experiencing being regarded as outsiders compared to the established players in the clubs. Our study indicates that organisational change do not automatically generate cultural change when implementing health-promotion initiatives such as FF.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Sep 2021

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Football fitness, Leisure activity, Quest for excitement, Masculinities, Established - outsider relations

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