From Community Based Identities to Individual Benefits for Volunteers: A Comparison of Three Sporting EventsElsa Kristiansen, Eivind Å. Skille, Dag Vidar Hanstad

Elsa Kristiansen
Norwegian School of Sport Sciences
Eivind Å. Skille
Hedmark University College, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences
Dag Vidar Hanstad
Norwegian School of Sport Sciences


The purpose of this paper is to explore and identify different types of volunteers at three major sporting events: the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria; the 2012 GöteborgsVarvet (a half-marathon race), Sweden; and the 2012 FIS World Ski Flying Championships in Vikersund, Norway. Altogether, 37 volunteers were interviewed, and Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and field, as well as modernization theories, were employed in the analyses. Data revealed that all three groups of volunteers had different motives for volunteer work. The young, international volunteers at the Winter Youth Olympic Games were concerned with learning and gaining experience; the volunteers at Vikersund were motivated by the commitment to the local community; while the volunteers at GöteborgsVarvet volunteered for their local sport club. In conclusion, we argue that there is an increased complexity of volunteer patterns. Theoretically speaking, there is a difference between subfields of volunteering which fit various individual habitus. Clearly, modern volunteers, particularly young people, extend the complexity of the sport field and the volunteering field.

Click here to read this peer reviewed article  in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum

About the Authors

ELSA KRISTIANSEN is a Postdoctoral fellow at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. She has investigated the impact of organizational issues and especially the effect of media coverage on elite athletes’ perceptions of stress, in addition to being involved in an international project examining the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). She is currently investigating the complex network of intertwining relationships in which young athletes are involved, and how these relationships influence the development of these young athletes. Her latest publications include;Kristiansen, E., (in press).Competing for culture: Young Olympians’ narratives from the first winter Youth Olympic Games. International Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology. doi:10.1080/1612197X.2012.756259; Kristiansen, E., & Parent, M. M. (2014). Athletes, their families and team officials: Sources of support and stressors. In D. V. Hanstad, M. M. Parent, & B. Houlihan (Eds.), The Youth Olympic Games (pp. 106–121). Oxon: Routledge; and Kristiansen, E., & Lines, G. (2014). Media. In A. Papannnoiu, & D. Hackfort, (Eds), Companion to sport and exercise psychology: Global perspectives and fundamental concepts (pp. 236-259). New York: Taylor & Francis.

EIVIND Å. SKILLE is Professor with the Department of Sport at the Hedmark University College, Elverum, Norway. Eivind is a sport sociologist and his main research interests are sport policy, sport organization, and sport participation. Much of his work has focused on the relationship between the state’s sport policy making and the possibilities and constraints for implementation of this policy through the voluntary sport organizations. His latest publications include Idrettslaget – helseprodusent eller trivselsarena? (2012, Oplandske Bokforlag), The Conventions of Sport Clubs: Enabling and Constraining the Implementation of Social Goods Through Sport’ (2011, Sport, Education and Society, 16 (2): 253-265), and ‘Sport for all in Scandinavia: sport policy and participation in Norway, Sweden and Denmark’ (2011, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 3 (3): 327-340).

DAG VIDAR HANSTAD is Associate Professor in sport management and head of the Department of Cultural and Social Studies at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo. He has a PhD on the topic “Anti-Doping in Sport. A Study of Policy Development since 1998”. He was previously Sport Editor for the leading Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. He has also background from handball as a player on the national team and trainer at highest level. His research interests include events, volunteerism, anti-doping and media. Hanstad is currently leader of a research project on the Youth Olympic Games.

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