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Research projects

Ice hockey in change - masculinity ideal and violence norms in Swedish ice hockey circa 1965 to today

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Daniel Alsarve

Research environments

The sports movement often emerges as a progressive and health-promoting arena in which participation provides several beneficial effects. However, critical sports research in both Swedish and other contexts have challenged this picture by showing how, for example, participation in male team sports environments can create a ‘hotbed’ for sexism and homophobia. Recently, media has noticed that Swedish athletes commit violent crimes on and off the sports arena, against both men and women. With the above research results in mind, such cases are not surprising. But simultaneously, such a conclusion risks being too one-sided and far-reaching about what, for example, participation in a boys’ or men’s ice hockey team leads to i.e.not all ice hockey players will become violent offenders.

The purpose of this project is to examine, from a historical perspective, masculinity ideals and violence norms in Swedish ice hockey from about 1965 until today. Questions put are: Which masculinity ideals have been encouraged and reaffirmed in ice hockey and how have these changed over time? What norms of violence can be identified and how do they possibly change over time? Methodologically, written, oral and pictorial data from magazines, interviews and biographies are analysed. The method consists of a historical analysis inspired by theory and previous research in Critical Studies on Men and Masculinities (CSMM) which includes questions about sports and violence. The project contributes complementary knowledge to the North American-dominated, international research on the history, masculinity and violence of ice hockey.

The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council for Sport Science.