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Introduction

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A Political History of Sport in Sweden

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Sport and Politics ((PASSP))

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Abstract

This book, based on the extensive Swedish sport history research carried out over the last 50 years, aims to present to an international audience a coherent history of Swedish sport. In particular, it highlights the relationship between sport politics and people’s changing attitudes towards sport from the eighteenth century until today. When one considers the development of Swedish sport and sport politics over a longer period of time, a number of distinctive features emerge. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, sport in Sweden was largely a political top-down project driven by public institutions. During the first third of the twentieth century sport in civil society also became the object of political intervention, and since the 1930s the level of political and organisational stability in sport has been remarkable. In this book, we will look into how and why this development has come about. Although the book does not offer a comprehensive comparative analysis, it outlines the characteristics of Swedish sport politics by contrasting it with circumstances in other countries, above all Denmark and Norway.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This book is based on an earlier Swedish edition; Jens Ljunggren. (2020). Den svenska idrottens historia. Natur & Kultur: Stockholm; parts of the Swedish text have been reused in this book. The analytical framework is, however, different.

  2. 2.

    Analytical notions, a variation of Nils Asle Bergsgard et al. (2007). Sport policy: A comparative analysis of stability and change. Butterworth-Heinemann: Amsterdam, p. 47.

  3. 3.

    Thomas Peterson (2002). ‘En allt allvarligare lek: Om idrottsrörelsens partiella kommersialisering 1967–2002’, pp. 21–33. In Jan Lindroth & Johan R. Norberg (eds.). Ett idrottssekel: Riksidrottsförbundet 1903–2003. Informationsförlaget: Stockholm.

  4. 4.

    Marquis William Childs. (1936). Sweden: The middle way. Yale Univ, press: New Haven.

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    Erik Bengtsson. (2020). Världens jämlikaste land? Arkiv förlag: Lund.

  6. 6.

    Per Thullberg & Kjell Östberg. (1994). ‘Inledning’, pp. 5–7. In Per Thullberg & Kjell Östberg (eds.). Den svenska modellen. Studentlitteratur: Lund; Klas Åmark. (1994). Vem styr marknaden? Facket, makten och marknaden 1850–1990. Tiden: Stockholm, pp. 151–162; Yvonne Hirdman, Urban Lundberg & Jenny Björkman. (2012). Sveriges historia 1920–1965. Norstedt: Stockholm. pp. 368–369.

  7. 7.

    Tomas Peterson & Susanna Hedenborg. (2016). ‘Den svenska idrottsmodellen’, pp. 21–33. In Susanna Hedenborg (ed.). Idrottsvetenskap: En introduktion. Studentlitteratur: Lund.

  8. 8.

    Johan R. Norberg. (2021). Statens stöd till idrotten: Uppföljning 2020. Stockholm: Centrum för idrottsforskning, pp. 21, 53; Tomas Peterson & Susanna Hedenborg. ‘Den svenska idrottsmodellen’, pp. 21–33.

  9. 9.

    For an extended discussion on comparative analysis of sport politics, see Barrie Houlihan. (1997). Sport, policy and politics: A comparative analysis. Routledge: London, pp. 1–21.

  10. 10.

    Barrie Houlihan. Sport, policy and politics, pp. 55–57.

  11. 11.

    For reasons of consistency, I here discuss Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden), even though some of the researchers referred to are talking about the Nordic countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland as well as the Faroe Islands). However, Iceland and the Faroe Islands are rarely considered in their research.

  12. 12.

    Francis Sejersted. (2005). Socialdemokratins tidsålder: Sverige och Norge under 1900-talet. Nya Doxa: Nora, pp. 11–14; Niels Finn Christiansen & Pirjo Markkola. (2006). ‘Introduction’, pp. 9–11, 17, 21. In Niels Finn Christiansen (ed.). The Nordic model of welfare: A historical reappraisal. Museum Tusculanum Press: Copenhagen.

  13. 13.

    Richard Giulianotti. (2019). ‘Afterword: The Nordic model and physical cultures in the global context’, pp. 235–243. In Mikkel B Tin, Frode Telseth, Jan Ove Tangen & Richard Giulianotti (eds.). The Nordic model and physical culture. Routledge: London. See also Alan Bairner. (2001). Sport, nationalism, and globalization: European and North American perspectives. State University of New York Press: Albany, pp. 151–155.

  14. 14.

    Bjarne Ibsen & Ørnulf Seippel. (2010). ‘Voluntary organized sport in Denmark and Norway’. Sport in Society: 4 (13), pp. 593–608; Mikkel B Tin, Frode Telseth & Jan Ove Tangen. (2019). ‘Introduction: The Nordic model and physical culture’, pp. 9–11. In Mikkel B Tin, Frode Telseth, Jan Ove Tangen & Richard Giulianotti (eds.). The Nordic model and physical culture. See also Per Mangset. (2002). ‘Norsk idrettspolitikk i et internasjonalt komparativt perspektiv’, p. 181. In Per Mangset & Hilmar Rommetvedt (eds). Idrett og politikk: Kampsport eller lagspill? Fagbokforlaget: Bergen.

  15. 15.

    European Commission. (2022). Special Eurobarometer 525: Sport and Physical Activity, p. 7.

  16. 16.

    Eurostat: Statistics on sport participation: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Statistics_on_sport_participation.

  17. 17.

    Michal Wielechowsk, Arkadius Weremczuk & Grezeda Lukasz. General government expenditure on sport and recreation in European Union member states—Structure and changes, p. 183. http://cejsh.icm.edu.pl/cejsh/element/bwmeta1.element.desklight-c910c09e-7610-4597-9183-95bcabfe5b0d/c/12_General_Government.pdf.

  18. 18.

    Nils Asle Bergsgard & Johan R. Norberg. (2014). ‘Sports policy and politics—the Scandinavian way’, pp. 567–582. Sport in Society: 4 (13).

  19. 19.

    Nils Asle Bergsgard & Johan R. Norberg. ‘Sports policy and politics—the Scandinavian way’, pp. 567–582; Claus Bøje and Søren Riiskjær. (2023). Dansk idraetspolitik—Idrætten i Kulturministeriet gennem 50 år, Gads Forlag.

  20. 20.

    Barrie Houlihan. Sport, policy and politics, pp. 57, 66; Per Mangset.Norsk idrettspolitikk i et internasjonalt komparativt perspektiv’, pp. 185–186; Nils Asle Bergsgard et al. Sport policy, pp. 245–255.

  21. 21.

    Gøsta Esping-Andersen. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Polity: Cambridge; Per Mangset. ‘Norsk idrettspolitikk i et internasjonalt komparativt perspektiv’, pp. 181.

  22. 22.

    Niels Kayser Nielsen & John Bale. (2012). ‘Associations and Democracy: Sport and popular mobilization in Nordic societies c. 1850–1900’. Scandinavian Journal of History: 1 (1).

  23. 23.

    Cf Bjarne Ibsen. (2002). ‘En eller flere idreatsorganisationer—hvorfore forskelle melem de nordiske lande?’, p. 191. In Eichberg Henning & Bo Vestergård Madsen (eds.). Idrættens enhed eller mangfoldighed. Klim: Århus.

  24. 24.

    Henning Eichberg & Bjarne Ibsen. (2006). Dansk idrætspolitik: Mellem frivillighed og statslig styring. Idrættens Analyseinstitut, p. 6.

  25. 25.

    Bjarne Ibsen. (2002). ‘En eller flere idrætsorganisationer—hvorfor forskelle mellem de nordiske lande?’, pp. 199–206.

  26. 26.

    Torben Fridberg. (2010). ‘Sport and exercise in Denmark, Scandinavia and Europe’. Sport in Society: 4 (13), pp. 586–587; Christine Dartsch Nilsson (ed.). (2019). Idrotten och (o)jämlikheten: I medlemmarnas eller samhällets intresse? Centrum för idrottsforskning.

  27. 27.

    Participation rates are higher in the more uniformly organised, and with a large voluntary sector, Norway and Germany, than Canada and England; see Nils Asle Bergsgard et al. Sport policy: A comparative analysis of stability and change, p. 12.

  28. 28.

    Torben Fridberg. ‘Sport and exercise in Denmark, Scandinavia and Europe’, p. 588.

  29. 29.

    Filip Wilkander. ‘Svensk idrottspolitik—en bollbyråkrati’. https://timbro.se/allmant/svensk-idrottspolitik-en-bollbyrakrati/; Cf. Josef Fahlén & Cecilia Stenling (2016). ‘Sport policy in Sweden’, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics: 3 (8), p. 527.

  30. 30.

    Hallgeir Gammelsaeter. (2009). ‘The organization of professional football in Scandinavia’. Soccer and Society: 3 (10), pp. 305–323; Kari Steen-Johnsen & Kasper Lund Kirkegaard. (2010). ‘The history and organization of fitness exercise in Norway and Denmark’. Sport in Society: 4 (13), p. 621; Paul Sjöblom & Josef Fahlén. (2010). ‘The survival of the fittest: Intensification, totalization and homogenization in Swedish competitive sport. Sport in Society: 4 (13), p. 716; Torbjörn Andersson. ‘“Spela fotboll bonddjävlar”: Svensk klubbkultur och lokal identitet från 1950 till 2000-talets början’. Östling Bokförlag Symposium: Eslöv. 2016, p. 279.

  31. 31.

    Eivind Å. Skille. (2022). Indigenous Sport and Nation Building. Routledge, New York, p. 105.

  32. 32.

    Allen Guttmann. (2004). From ritual to record: The nature of modern sports. Updated with a new afterword. New York: Columbia University Press.

  33. 33.

    Henning Eichberg. (1998). ‘Body Culture as paradigm: The Danish sociology of sport’. In John Bale & Chris Philo (eds.). Body cultures: Essays on sport, space and identity. Routledge: London, pp. 11–127.

  34. 34.

    Thomas Peterson. (2002). ‘En allt allvarligare lek: Om idrottsrörelsens partiella kommersialisering 1967–2002’, pp. 21–33.

  35. 35.

    Michel Foucault. (1990). The history of sexuality Vol. 1 The will to knowledge. Penguin. Harmondsworth; Joseph S. Nye. (2004). Soft power: The means to success in world politics. public Affairs: New York.

  36. 36.

    Jenny Andersson. (2018). The future of the world: Futurology, futurists, and the struggle for the post-Cold War imagination. Oxford University Press: New York; Karl Haikola. (2023). Framtidens fragmentering: Sekretariatet för framtidsstudier och välfärdssamhällets dilemman under det långa 1970-talet. Lunds universitet: Lund.

  37. 37.

    Joakim Wirén Åkesson. (2014). Idrottens akademisering: Idrottsvetnskaplig kunskap inom forskning, utbildning och på arbetsmarkanden. Malmö högskola, pp. 52–54, 80, 86, 100–101.

  38. 38.

    Richard L. Florida. (2014). The rise of the creative class: Revisited. Basic Books: New York, pp. 143–147.

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Ljunggren, J. (2024). Introduction. In: A Political History of Sport in Sweden. Palgrave Studies in Sport and Politics. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-46185-9_1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-46185-9_1

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

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