Science and Skiing

By E.Müller; H. Schwameder et al. | Go to book overview

49

DOWNHILL AND TELEMARK SKIING AS PART OF YOUNG PEOPLE'S LIFESTYLE

M.K.SISJORD

The Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education, Oslo, Norway

Keywords: identity, lifestyle, social/cultural reproduction, youth culture, alpine skiing, telemark skiing.


1Introduction

Sport is a vital part of young people's lifestyles and youth culture. According to Giddens [ 1 ] the notion of lifestyle takes on a particular significance in modern life. “The more tradition loses its hold, and the more daily life is reconstructed in terms of the dialectical interplay of the local and the global, the more individuals are forced to negotiate lifestyle choices among a diversity of options.” (lbid). This means that lifestyle choices are increasingly important in the constitution of self-identity. The German sociologist Thomas Ziehe, emphasizes with particular reference to the situation of young people, that identity development is becoming more complicated as traditional structures in society are being disrupted, but also more open as the individuals are, to a greater extent, able to create their own lifestyles and identitities [ 2 ].

As a function of the mentioned conditions in society, some scholars claim that social classes are dying, by changes in class relations combined with decreased class differences [ 3 ]. In such a perspective it is reasonable to question the relationship between sports participation and social class.

Empirical studies show that sports participation is most common among people in the middle and higher social classes [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] [ 10 ], but also that social stratification is found within the sports system. Some sports are connected to the labour class, other sports to the higher social classes. Social stratification in sport has been explained as a function of perceptions of the body and body culture [ 11 ], and to lifestyle preferences [ 12 ].

The focus of this study is sports participation as part of young people's lifestyle, wher social and cultural reproduction is of particular interest. The sports which have been focussed upon are downhill skiing and Telemark skiing. Downhill skiing has traditionally been a middle and upper-class

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