Football for Inclusion: Examining the Pedagogic Rationalities and the Technologies of Solidarity of a Sports-Based Intervention in Sweden

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Football for Inclusion: Examining the Pedagogic Rationalities and the Technologies of Solidarity of a Sports-Based Intervention in Sweden


  • David Ekholm Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Linköping University, Sweden
  • Magnus Dahlstedt Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Linköping University, Sweden


Abstract  Sports practices have been emphasised in social policy as a means of responding to social problems. In this article we analyse a sports-based social intervention performed in a “socially vulnerable” area in Sweden. We examine the formation of includable citizens in this project, based on interviews with representatives involved in the project. The material is analysed from a governmentality perspective, focusing on how problems and solutions are constructed as being constitutive of each other. The focus of the analysis is on social solidarity and inclusion as contemporary challenges, and how sport, specifically football, is highlighted as a way of creating social solidarity through a pedagogic rationality—football as a means of fostering citizens according to specific ideals of solidarity and inclusion. The formation of solidarity appears not as a mutual process whereby an integrated social collective is created, but rather as a process whereby those affected by exclusion are given the opportunity to individually adapt to a set of Swedish norms, and to linguistic and cultural skills, as a means of reaching the “inside”. Inclusion seems to be possible as long as the “excluded” adapt to the “inside”, which is made possible by the sports-based pedagogy. In conclusion, social problems and social tensions are spatially located in “the Area” of “the City”, whose social policy, of which this sports-based intervention is a part, maintains rather than reforms the social order that creates these very tensions.


Keywords  football; pedagogy; segregation; social inclusion; solidarity; sport


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/si.v5i2.839