Kung Fotboll: Den svenska fotbollens kulturhistoria från 1800-talets slut till 1950

Torbjörn Andersson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis concerns Swedish football´s cultural history from the end of the nineteenth century to 1950. It is the story of how the game was gradually established, and overcame a great number of internal and external problems and conflicts, before entering its sporting and cultural golden age during the 1940s. I demonstrate how this game´s middle-class dominated power elite tried to control the development of a sport rapidly gaining in popularity. They took upon themselves the task of controlling and moulding all the players and spectators who were drawn to this sport. A stable, hegemonic dominance was aimed at, the objective being the realisation of soccer as a manly, class non-specific and successful national project. The analysis has been guided by three major questions. First and foremost, this work has focused upon how football changed ideologically and culturally from the end of the 1800s to 1950. Of great importance here is to follow how a rational amateur system was created and how the local patriotism of the spectators was handled. I have additionally sought to answer whether soccer can be interpreted as a way of implanting the "manly" attributes of respectability and diligence (skötsamhet). If this is in fact the case, the question arises how successful this project really was. Furthermore, I have chosen to survey the manner by which football could attain such a strong cultural position and a class-neutral character, to the extent that it could be automatically classified as the national sport. To answer these questions I focus on many actors: the national and regional federations, the club managements, the players, the sports journalists, the referees, the illegal pools industry and the spectators. A wide variety of football clubs in the whole of Sweden as well as the national team is included in the study.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • History
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2002 May 4
ISBN (Print)91-7139-565-2
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2002-05-04
Time: 10:15
Place: The Department of History

External reviewer(s)

Name: Olstad, Finn
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Norges Idrettshöjskole


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History

Free keywords

  • Humaniora
  • class
  • football
  • gender
  • local patriotism
  • nationalism
  • hegemony
  • respectability and diligence (skötsamhet)
  • hooliganism
  • rational amateurism
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Historia
  • Sociology
  • Sociologi

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