From a body to a story. Transformative narratives in Swedish football

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The pitch. This is the core of the process, 90 minutes of a game, creating
history ad hoc, constantly, quickly, and sometimes painfully. 22 players
run and fight over the ball, for their careers, respect, and fame. Supporters
often see themselves as the most important participants in the football
experience, but one needs players. The emphasis in the media has often
been on the football superstars, described as modern heroes with a cult
surrounding them (see, e.g., Digance and Toohey 2011). At the same time,
critical voices have pointed out how football is increasingly detached
from its fans and focused on financial advantages and imported stars.
Yet football fans demonstrate different techniques of reclaiming the
power over football and players. The focus of this article is the appropriation
of the physicality of players. Their bodies are not only physical. If
spectators are to make a meaningful emotional connection with players,
a kind of transformation needs to happen that makes flesh and blood into
a mythical object that can be used later. Such processes are most visible
when a healthy organism undergoes a change and is not able to perform
as required.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ethnology


  • football, Sweden, Ethnology, Ethnography, Malmö FF, AIK, body
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-121
JournalInterDisciplines Journal of History and Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 25
Publication categoryResearch

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