Sociological Research in Sport and Exercise (SoRSE)

The common focal point of the research group is sociology, which constitutes a joint forum where the various research themes are brought into play.



Our research themes can largely be summarized within three overlapping main areas:















With sociology as the disciplinary  foundation of SoRSE, our vision is to deliver research at the highest international level within the sociology of sport, and to simultaneously contribute to related fields such as organization studies, the history of sport, policy/politics and implementation, leisure studies, public health, educational research as well as to the sociological core discipline.

Our hope is that this new knowledge can be applied to foster improvements for as many as possible of the people who are active in the world of sport and exercise on a regular basis. We wish to relate historical-sociological studies to a focus on development through innovation and knowledge about sustainability in the context of sport and exercise.


It is our mission that the research group – through collaboration, ideation and by extending existing individual contributions – creates an integrated, dynamic and focused forum where the group's participants can gather for supervision and professional development, where good ideas can be fostered, and where younger researchers feel welcome.

To realize our vision SoRSE collaborates with practitioners and with other national and international research environments. Collaborations are characterized by a vision to engage in research processes through innovation, dialogue orientation, and co-creation with our external relations.

The goal is to remain a benchmark unit for sociological sport and exercise research in Denmark, and a central actor in the international research community.







SoRSE has a number of objectives that are dynamic indicators for our current orientation:

  • SoRSE is anchored and developed at the AB building at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports (NEXS), contributing to the maintenance, strengthening and expansion of the Section Sport, Individual and Society at the University of Copenhagen.
  • SoRSE continuously clarifies where and how synergy and collaborations within the group can be created in order to reach higher levels of publishing and attracting external funding through joint efforts.
  • SoRSE prioritizes interaction, integration, and mutual supervision, as well as input from external researchers and practitioners, through frequent meeting activities.
  • SoRSE decides - taking the heterogeneity of the group into consideration - which national and, in particular, international research fora in which to make itself visible.
  • SoRSE clarifies how the work of the group is organized in the best possible way so that a balance exists between workload (e.g. teaching) and time available for attaining merit through publishing.
  • SoRSE continuously reviews with who and to what extent it collaborates with other relevant units such as Centre for Team Sports and Health, sociology of sport research environments at other universities, and practitioners in sport (e.g. the Danish Sport Confederation, Danish Football Association, Team Denmark, Danish Association for Sport and Gymnastics, Danish Company Sport etc.)
























Research projects


The research project Women in Healthy Transition focuses on several different physiological and sociological aspects before, during and after women's menopause in relation to physical activity.

This research project will create important new knowledge about physiological and sociological changes through the menopause, which will have great scientific relevance as well as relevance for all women who, despite individual differences, sooner or later will encounter this transition in life.

Led by Associate Professor Lasse Gliemann from the August Krogh Section for Human physiology and Associate Professor Maria Hybholt from the Section on Sport, Individual & Society, the research project combines physiological and sociological studies in a long-term perspective in completely new ways.

Overall, the project follows 200 middle-aged Danish women from before they enter menopause and in the years after. Over five years, the researchers will investigate the function of the women's heart, brain, blood vessels and blood.

In addition, the influence of menopausal changes and physical activity on the women’s self-identity and experience of their body will be elucidated via focus groups, interviews, and questionnaires.

The project group expect to carry out follow-up studies 10 and 20 years in the future on the same population to ensure a thorough knowledge of the long-term effects of menopause and the relation with physical activity.

The results from the project will be of decisive importance for the understanding of the menopausal changes before, during and after the final menstruation period in relation to physical activity.

Read more about the project in Danish here.








Implementation of collaboration and bridge-building between municipalities and voluntary sports associations.

The project investigates how sports associations and volunteers collaborate with municipalities to create inclusive and engaging communities for new target groups.

About the project

SUND BRO IF will create knowledge about how municipalities and sports associations collaborate to develop and implement inclusive sports communities for adult target groups within the association context.

SUND BRO IF is a sports sociological PhD project led by Signe Engdal, with Laila Ottesen as a supervisor.

The project is based on collaboration relationships with five selected municipalities across rural and urban areas and aims to examine the sports associations' perspectives on collaboration and analyze how sports associations include new adult target groups in their community.

The project will focus on analysing both existing and newly developed sports activities in sports associations targeted people who are unaccostumed with exercising in sports associations.

Through observations of sports associations and interviews with volunteers, board members, and municipal partners, the project will create knowledge about how collaboration between the public and voluntary sectors affects the inclusion of new, non-exercising adults in sports associations.

The project strategically selects specific sports associations and sports activities to work with as research in the field shows that team sports and activities have an impact on promoting social relationships and friendship among participants, which influences adults' continued participation in physical activity in a long-term perspective.

The project's results will have implications for how municipalities and sports associations understand the opportunities and limitations of collaboration and for including new target groups in association contexts. In a health perspective, it can be crucial for non-exercising adults' opportunities to continue with physical activity in everyday life, for example, after a period at a municipal institution, such as a health center, job center, or other.


Physical activity and participation in social communities are both important factors for the Danish population's welfare and health. The vision of becoming the world's most active nation (Move for Life, 25-50-75) and an increased focus on applying sports as a health-promoting, disease-preventing, and treating element is part of the Danish sports and health policy context.

Among state agencies, municipalities, and sports organizations, there is a growing interest in collaborating and involving the sports arena in solving both health and employment-related issues in Danish society. "Exercise and Community on Prescription" as a project pool at the Danish Agency for Labor and Recruitment (STAR) is an example of attempts to address these challenges, and nine municipalities are examining and testing how they can develop sustainable collaboration models with local sports associations.

Likewise, 32 municipalities under the Move for Life vision are working to implement new sports activities and adapt existing sports activities to target groups that are not used to exercising in the hope of getting more active Danes by the end of 2025.

It is in projects such as those mentioned above that SUND BRO IF will analyze different existing collaboration and bridging models between municipal institutions and sports associations. Implementation of collaboration has been previously studied in municipalities, but in-depth knowledge about the organization of collaboration in civil society.

Therefore, the project will examine mechanisms that enable and restrict the implementation of collaboration and integration of new members into the various associations' communities over a longer period.

Team sports and team activities will be at the center of the project since research from the Center for Team Sports and Health shows the importance of community-building and enjoyable activities for adults' desire to continue participating in physical activity. 


Mapping of formalized forms of collaboration

At present, there are several versions of formalized collaborations between municipalities, sports organizations, and sports associations. Through document analysis, including municipality agreements, Exercise and Community on Prescription agreements, and other collaboration agreements between municipalities and sports associations, the project will create knowledge about the structural frameworks and conditions for collaboration relationships. 

Observational studies at sports associations

Fieldwork carried out over an extended period using participant observation will provide in-depth insight into the associations' social practices and their work to include new participants in the community both in practice and at a structural, overarching level in communication with the municipality and internal board meetings. 

Results and dissemination

The project started in December 2020 and is expected to be completed by February 2024.

Since the empirical fieldwork will span an extended period, results will only be available at the PhD defense, while ongoing results will be disseminated as scientific and non-scientific articles and reports.

The Center for Team Sports and Health will support communication and dissemination of results from scientific articles to relevant Danish media.

Funded by

Nordea Foundation's grant to the Center for Team Sports and Health.

Project period: December 2020 to February 2024.


PhD student Signe Engdal



The aim of this project is to explore how gymnastics is taught in the BA programmes in PE at Danish universities, and how this connects to the practical reality of the students’ future work life – especially as high school teachers.

Central research questions

  • How is gymnastics taught in the BA programmes in PE at Danish universities and why?
  • How does the curriculum connect to the practical reality of the students’ future work life – especially as high school teachers?


Gymnastics has historically played a large role in the development of PE in Denmark. Today gymnastics is still a central part of the national curriculum for PE in primary and lower secondary school, but in high school PE gymnastics is optional and can be included as part of the mandatory subject area “classical and new sports”.

At the four Danish universities that have a BA program in PE gymnastics is part of the mandatory curriculum, but the emphasis on it differs. There is no universal definition of gymnastics, but the focus of this study lies mainly on apparatus work.

The aim of the project is to explore how gymnastics is taught in the BA programmes in PE at Danish universities and why, as well as how the curriculum connects to the practical reality of the students’ future work life – especially as high school teachers.

The analysis applies a combined sociological and pedagogical perspective, drawing theoretical inspiration from, among others, Norbert Elias. Qualitative methods are used for data collection in this project (i.e. interviews, observations, and document analysis).

This project will contribute with specific knowledge about

  1. the gymnastics curriculum in the BA programmes in PE,
  2. the connection between theory and practice in PE,
  3. research based teaching in practical courses in BA programmes in PE, and
  4. the interplay between university education and labour market needs.

The project started in October 2020 and is expected to be completed in late 2025.

When articles related to the project are published, they will be featured on this page.


Andorra Lynn Jensen
PhD student




To explore physical activity experiences of individuals with spinal cord injury throughout the life course.

The purpose of this programme of research is to explore the experiences of injured rugby players in the physical activity interventions provided by the RFU Injured Players Foundation (IPF) and evaluate the influence of these activities on the health and well-being of injured players over time.

With an increasing number of younger people sustaining SCI living longer, there is an urgent need to understand the unique needs of those ageing with SCI and the role of physical activities on quality of life throughout the life course.

Funded by

The University of Copenhagen

Leeds Beckett University



PhD student Laura Wilcock





One scientific book published and another is in the writing process. Muller issued a book called My System that was translated into 26 languages and sold worldwide in 1.5 million copies.

Project period: 2023-2026.

External funding: 120.000 DK form different funds to publication of first scientific research volume om J.P. Muller.

The project began decades ago with the Carlsberg Foundation donating 1 million DKK for a scholarship to Hans Bonde. The research project: J.P. Müller: Denmark's great health apostle.

Main question

What was Muller’s impact within sport, hygiene, health promotion, sexology, and the breakthrough of modern behavioral codes?

Main source material: From archives in Falster, Copenhagen, Berlin and London.

Focus areas

History and sociology of sport, gymnastics, hygiene, health, sexology and early modernity.

History and sociology of senses, history of emotions.


1 research book, 10 researcharticles and 5 popular scientific articles published concerning this research project.


Professor Hans Bonde



Scientific history monograph and manuscript of 350 pages accepted for publication at a university publishing house.

Project period: 2019 - 2024.

External support: Currently 80,000 from the Augustinusfonden and Sportsgoodfonden.


The author has unearthed 50 Danish chivalrous games from the historical source material and shows that jousting tournaments were a vital part of royal coronations, weddings and the birth of the chosen king's son.

The many important tournaments are an eye-opener to the general importance of knightly culture and its interweaving with royal power. With this, a completely new and hitherto unrecognized chapter of Danish sports history will be opened.

Focus area

History and sociology of sport, theory of civilization, body culture, politics, aesthetics.


Forthcoming professional history book at Syddansk Universitetsforlag.


Professor Hans Bonde



Advancements and new technologies

In this project are we defines the state-of-the-art of psychological and behavioural metrics in sport psychology (from laypeople to elite levels), and we explore the roles and opportunities of new technologies in the advancements of measuring psychological and behavioural markers in sport psychology (smartphones, wearable devices, ecological momentary assessment, etc.)

This is a double-degree PhD project is carried in collaboration between Department of Nutrition Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and Department of Human Sciences, University of Verona, Italy.


PhD student Michael John Dwyer



 – the significance of work, family and leisure in relation to a physical active life style among women

The project will create new and important insight regarding the possibilities and limitations of the everyday life in relation to a physical active lifestyle among women.

Many women experience a time pressure due to long working hours and routine tasks at home. Work, family and leisure are interrelated, and this project illuminates how the relation between the three spheres in everyday life influences the level of physical activity through life among women.

The project involves a qualitative design consisting of 26 semi structured individual interviews with Danish women aged 57-65. The women are divided into two groups; either physical inactive active during the last 20 years.

Funded by

Ministry of Culture.


Associate Professor Maria Hybholt


Members of research group

Name Title Phone E-mail
Adam B. Evans Associate Professor +4535331336 E-mail
Andorra Lynn Jensen PhD Student +4535322429 E-mail
Hans Bonde Professor +4535320862 E-mail
Laila Ottesen Associate Professor +4535321741 E-mail
Signe Engdal PhD Fellow +4535336232 E-mail
Ulrik Wagner Associate Professor, Head of Section +4535321511 E-mail
Adam B. Evans

Head of research group

Adam B. Evans
Associate Professor

Publication list for

Professor Hans Bonde

Associate Professor Ulrik Wagner

Associate Professor Laila Ottesen

Associate Professor Adam B. Evans

Research Consultant Marie Birch Overbye

PhD student Adam Rønlund

PhD student Andorra Lynn Jensen

PhD student Signe Engdal