Equal Abilities – The Swedish Parasport Federation and the Inclusion Process

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Madelene Nordlund1, Kim Wickman2, Staffan Karp2 & Lotta Vikström3
1 Department of sociology, Umeå University; 2 Department of education, Umeå University,
3 Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Umeå University


A major organizational change is currently taking place in Swedish sports, with people labelled with disabilities leaving the Swedish Para-sport Federation (SPF) to participate in mainstream sports under the Swedish Sports Confederation. The aim of this study was to map the expectations of this ongoing process of the stakeholders of the SPF.  Based on a questionnaire with 130 respondents connected to the SPF we found that, overall, the respondents were optimistic about mixed training groups, something that could point towards the possibility of equality between PLwD (people labelled with disabilities) and mainstream athletes. However, a rather large number of respondents feared negative consequences in terms of the physical environment for PLwD. This means that inclusion may create a dilemma regarding the relationship between the individual and the environment. We conclude that inclusion works at different levels of organized sport and there is insufficient knowledge about the impact of inclusion.


Click here to read this peer reviewed article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum, Vol. 13, 2022


MADELENE NORDLUND is a senior lecturer in Sociology at Umeå university. Her main area of research concerns the labour market and adult education, but in more recent years also sports research. She is part of the research project “Equal Conditions in Sweden’s Largest Popular Movement: Success Factors for Increased Inclusion in the Field of Sport”.

KIM WICKMAN is an Associate Professor in Pedagogy at Umeå University. Her research interests are in the broad field of equality and social inclusion, with particular reference to sport, gender and disability. Kim is PI of the research project “Equal Conditions in Sweden’s Largest Popular Movement: Success Factors for Increased Inclusion in the Field of Sport” funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, FORTE.

STAFFAN KARP is an Associate Professor in pedagogy at Umeå University. Since the mid-1990s, he has studied socialisation processes in organised children and youth sports, and in the 2000s with a focus on resistance to change in the sports movement. He is part of the research project “Equal Conditions in Sweden’s Largest Popular Movement: Success Factors for Increased Inclusion in the Field of Sport”.

LOTTA VIKSTRÖM is a Professor of History at Umeå university. Her research focus is on the lives of people with disabilities in Sweden from the 1800s until today. In 2016–2021, she led an interdisciplinary disability project funded by the European Research Council (Grant No. 647125). She is part of the project “Equal Conditions in Sweden’s Largest Popular Movement: Success Factors for Increased Inclusion in the Field of Sport”.


Read more on idrottsforum.org


This page was amended on October 25, 2022 with the fourth author.


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