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Idrott och hälsa

A school subject under pressure: understanding the changing means and ends of Swedish physical education and health

Publicerad:7 maj
Uppdaterad:17 juni

Louise Lindkvist har undersökt hur idrottsämnet organiseras när en ny reform ska implementeras, vilka faktorer som påverkar en sådan process och vilka konsekvenser som blir följden.


Louise Lindkvist


Professor Josef Fahlén, Umeå universitet. Docent Inger Eliasson, Umeå universitet


Professor Kjersti Mordal Moen, Høgskolen i Innlandet, Norge

Disputerat vid

Umeå universitet



Abstract in English

This thesis is concerned with exploring changes in the organization of Swedish PE, seeking to understand why certain aspects of the subject undergo alterations while others remain relatively stable. Central to this exploration is grasping the ends outlined for PE and the means employed to attain them. The ongoing debate surrounding the need for change in PE has placed the subject in a vulnerable position, susceptible to influence from various interest groups, and more likely to change according to their demands. Despite existing research focusing on various aspects of change within the subject, there remains a gap in knowledge concerning how underlying ideas regarding the purpose and realization of PE are incorporated into its means and ends. Therefore, this thesis aims to understand how shared ideas of appropriate practices in PE contribute to altered or retained organizational principles, with potential consequences for how education is realized. Employing institutional theory, the first research question examines how the research field of PE shapes legitimacy in practice, by identifying 15 dominant research topics. The second research question seeks to understand PE teachers’ actions within a broader societal context. This exploration demonstrates how four institutional logics guide PE teachers’ decision-making processes. In relation to the third research question, an institutional work perspective sheds light on processes driving certain actions towards change. Through interviews with school leaders, the results highlight four types of institutional work employed as they navigate government-initiated policy. The fourth and final research question delves into how PE teachers navigate the diverse institutional pressures affecting both symbolic and material conditions for implementing change. Employing an institutional logics perspective, the findings show that PE teachers respond to the various pressures in four different ways. The discussion scrutinizes how the actions of organizational members influence institutional structures and vice versa, enabling both change and stability within PE.

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