ISSN 1652–7224  :::  Published March 15, 2006
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A Swedish Sports Model Influenced by the Market: Values, Norms and Strategies in Municipalities and Sports Clubs 1970-1999

Paul Sjöblom
Dept. of History, Stockholm University

The thesis put forward here is, that there is a link between the parliamentary and governmental description of sport as socially beneficial, the relative autonomy of the sports movement, the institutionalisation of the municipalities’ sports policy and their involvement in the local sports culture and the expansion of competitive sport within the sports movement led by the Swedish Sports Confederation. The thesis is advanced in the context of a description of the Swedish sports model at the local level, its rise and eventual fall, and through a case study of Norrtälje municipality some ninety kilometres north of Stockholm.

The thesis is generally confirmed. From the perspective of the central state, within the framework of a corporate governance model, it has involved compromising with a strong sports movement and simultaneously gaining legitimacy and support for its sports policy. This has not caused any major problems as the Swedish Sports Confederation, the sports movement’s unitary organisation, has in all important respects developed organised sport in a desirable way, or at least one that the government authorities have been willing to accept in view of services in return. It appears to be the same at a local level. The municipality has rewarded that section of organised sport which has made, in its opinion, the best contribution to producing a both physically and mentally, educational as well as integrating, civic leisure activity. On the whole this has been applicable to the performance- and result-oriented sport. This type of competitive sport, or rather, the clubs which have run it, have also been expected to be able to assist in managing the range of facilities, in raising the municipality’s PR value, in creating new services and job opportunities and in uniting the inhabitants.

Copyright © Paul Sjöblom 2006.  |  Redaktör Kjell E. Eriksson  |  Ansvarig utgivare Aage Radmann