Public defence of doctoral thesis | Non-levelled playing fields and the rise of fitness: Social inequality in late modern youth sport in Norway | Mads Henrik Skauge Antonsen, Nord University, May 19, 2022

On Thursday, May 19, 2022, at 10:15 CET, Mads Henrik Skauge Antonsen will present and defend his dissertation Non-levelled playing fields and the rise of fitness: Social inequality in late modern youth sport in Norway at Nord University, Bodø, Norway; in situ (Bodø, A2 Stein Rokkan) and live-streamed (see below).

This dissertation is about social inequality in organised youth sport participation and the rise of fitness gyms. The inequality dimensions analysed are gender, social class and ethnicity. Data is The Norwegian Youth Survey/Young in Norway (Ungdata) 2010–2019, a national representative survey with respondents 13–18 years and approximately 87,000 participants each year from 2017¬–2019. Logistic regression is applied. The aim is to contribute to the understanding of inequality in sport and fitness participation. The eclectic framework light-shedding inequality includes habitus (Bourdieu), the reflexive self (Giddens) and social capital for education, including the school–sport balance as a zero-sum game (Coleman). The findings first indicate a lack of consensus and need for theorising inequality in youth sport (Paper 1). Second, there are gendered differences in sport motives, and these differences seem to contribute to the gendered differences in sport and fitness (Paper 2). Third, there are greater class differences in sport than fitness, and a link between previous sport participation and present fitness involvement (Paper 3). Fourth, there are opposite effects regarding academic achievements (school grades) for sport dropout among minority and majority youth (Paper 4). I suggest that inequality in youth sport can be interpreted as group differences (boys versus girls, various social classes and ethnic minority youth versus ethnic majority youth) in motivations, fitting differently to the distinct cultures of club sport and commercial fitness.

Review Committee

      • Professor Josef Fahlén, Umeå University (first opponent)
      • Associate Professor Karsten Elmose-Østerlund, University of Southern Denmark (second opponent)
      • Associate Professor Annelin Seppola, Nord University (chairperson)


      • ​Main supervisor: Associate Professor Anne Tjønndal, Nord University
      • Assistant supervisor: Associate Professor Arve Hjelseth, Norwegian University of Science and Technology


10:15–11:00 Trial lecture
: “Kunnskapen om ungdommers deltakelse i foreningsidrett og utøvelse av fitness-aktiviteter: refleksjoner over kunnskapsstatus, utviklingspotensial og framtidsscenarier​” [The knowledge about young people’s participation in club sports and fitness activities: reflections on knowledge status, development potential and future scenarios]

12:15–15:30 Public defence: Non-levelled playing fields and the rise of fitness. Social inequality in late modern youth sport in Norway

General Information

The defence is open to the public, and will also be streamed.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.