Research Seminar Series in Sport Sciences, Malmö University | 5 October 2015: “The battle between natural and scientific training in Swedish cross-country skiing, 1948–1972” | Daniel Svensson

The venue for this seminar is Orkanen, Nordenskiöldsgatan 10, room E121c, on Monday, October 5, 15:15–17:00. The seminar will be in Swedish.

 The battle between natural and scientific training
in Swedish cross-country skiing, 1948–1972 

Daniel Svensson

Welcome to this seminar, where our guest, Phd Student Daniel Svensson,  Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, will present his  dissertation project. In this paper, Daniel discusses the strategic change in training ideology and method, in fact a scientific turn, that took place in Swedish cross-country skiing in the wake of the failure at the 1952 Winter Olympics. The Swedish Ski Federation initiated a scientification of training. The Federation sought aid from physiologists to “rationalize” the training of elite skiers, but the advocates of natural training resisted this new, scientific model. A battle was fought between the two sides, and a number of different power strategies were used by the skiing federation and the physiologists to promote scientific training. In this article, the battle between different training regimes is analyzed using theories of power and sportification.

The article concludes that the shift towards rational training during the period 1948-1972 was part of a larger rationalization of Swedish society, and that the relative slowness of implementation was due to a lack of professionalization (of coaches). When professionalization occurred, it was amongst those coaches who were influenced by the ideals of scientific training. Rationalization should therefore be seen as one of the later stages of sportification.

acrobatreaderClick here to access Daniel’s paper!

The seminar is followed by a joint visit to the nearby Green Lion pub.


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