About the unit – University of Copenhagen

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Sport, Individual & Society > About the unit

Sport, Individual & Society

Research Profile

The research group explores the human and social science of sport, body, and movement as cultural phenomena and as spaces for learning and creating identities.

The unit has two central research perspectives: The historical and sociological research and the psychology and educational studies. In addition to this, coaching and coaching psychology is a central focus area in the section.

The historical and sociological research includes theoretical analysis as well as empirical studies of sport. The research group investigates how sport has evolved and is evolving in various political and cultural contexts. The focus is on relations and connections between sport culture and different areas of society.

In Psychology and Educational Studies, the research is often based on praxis and often has an application-oriented perspective. Through our research we wish to document, analyse, and create transformation processes in relation to the body, learning, and development. The starting point for the research is often qualitative analyses, where a holistic view of the body places the individual, creativity, movement, joy, development, health and well-being in a central position.

Moreover, interdisciplinary designed studies using quantitative and/or qualitative approaches are part of the work of the research group, e.g. at Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health, and concerning Copenhagen Women Studies.

Furthermore, the group's research is closely tied to that of professional praxis and the development of education and training at different levels, such as consultant work, organisational development, politics, and all levels of education. The members of the unit strive towards close cooperation with the surrounding community through dissemination, research, and development projects.

Central topics in the historical and sociological research

These years there is a growing societal attention to the cultural, social, and health related significance and potentials of sport. Research is carried out in a historical and sociological as well as national and international perspective on the continuously growing significance of sport in the modern welfare society, especially concerning the areas of health politics (e.g. sport’s potentials in health promotion and prevention), social politics (e.g. sport as means of integration concerning certain sections of the population), and cultural politics (e.g. sport’s significance in regards to the cohesive energy of society).  

Furthermore, the group researches the exercise habits of the population (with gender, ethnicity, class, and age as central parameters). There is also a focus on the structure of sport, leadership in sport organizations, and the relationship between sport and mass media. In addition to this, the question of whether sport historically has been used for political purposes (e.g. for mobilizing the population in the fight for democracy and by fascist regimes) is addressed. Finally there is also a special focus on sport and gender (e.g. sport and manliness and sport as a part of women’s emancipation). 

Central topics in Psychology and Educational Studies

In Psychology and Educational Studies we explore how a greater focus on creativity, sensuality, emotionality, and social interaction can give modern human beings a broader base to manage an increasingly complex and demanding daily life. We put special emphasis on the body, innovation, and creativity in different forms of experience-based learning processes and in different learning environments (e.g. education, training, consulting, and therapy). In addition, the unit focuses on the development of talent and promotion of performance, outdoor life/TEACHOUT, as well as coaching as a new form of dialogue practice in learning and development.

Coaching and coaching psychology as a special focus area

Coaching is a term associated with the sports world, but in recent years it has also become one of the world's fastest growing industries. Coaching is defined here as the participation in and facilitation of an individual or group's learning and developmental process. Coaching and coaching psychology have become prominent tools for the individual’s personal and professional learning, development, well-being, stress-prevention, and health promotion, and the purpose of The Coaching Psychology Unit as an integral part of the section is to create a greater integration of coaching research and undertake initiatives to promote and initiate coaching research at the University of Copenhagen.