Social inclusion in esports


🇳🇴 Summary in Norwegian 

Vegard Berglund & Anne Tjønndal
Nord University, Bodø, Norway

This article investigates social inclusion in esports, as well as the health benefits and risks associated with participation in esports clubs for youth. Empirically, the article is based on qualitative interviews with five managers and leaders in Norwegian esports clubs. The analytical framework is comprised of previous research on esports and theoretical perspectives on social inclusion in sport organizations. The main finding is that esports clubs may provide similar mental health benefits for youth as participation in traditional sports. This includes health benefits such as increased feelings of mastery, confidence, and community belonging. The findings also suggest that potential health risks associated with esports participation for youth include feelings of loneliness, isolation, and inadequate daily physical activity. Thirdly, the interview data show how escapism – using esports to take a break from stressors in real life, is interpreted as both a health benefit and risk by the esports club leaders and that the interpretation depends on the context escapism takes place. Lastly, the findings illustrate how esports clubs may contribute to the social inclusion of marginalized groups of youth, especially boys who do not participate in traditional sports clubs.

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VEGARD BERGLUND is a master student in sport pedagogy at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). He previously played esports (FIFA) semi-professionally in Eserien for Tromsø IL.

ANNE TJØNNDAL is head of RESPONSE – Research Group for Sport and Society at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Nord University. She is also a Visiting Professor at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

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