Forthcoming

Gender, sports, and belonging. The role of sports participation in residential preferences among girls and boys living in Norway's rural peripheries

Authors

  • Elisabeth Gulløy University of South-Eastern Norway

Abstract

The gender gap in residential preferences among rural youth has been documented in several studies – and for the most attributed to educational aspirations, employment, and income opportunities. The hereby study adds to this block of research by addressing the role of sports. Sports has been connected to place belonging. As a traditional masculine arena, sports can also be assumed to contribute to the gender gap in belonging. On this background, the study explores the role of sports participation in rural girls’ and boys’ residential preferences. As theoretical framework, feminist theories of gendered space contrasts feminist theories of sports participation, supplemented by elements from poststructuralist theories. Data consisted of school surveys from pupils aged 13–16 years living in Norway’s most peripheral municipalities (N=11,971). The analyses confirmed a gender gap in residential preferences. Boys more often considered living in their native municipality compared to girls. The role of sports was on the contrary more surprising. Rural girls who participated in sports had higher predicted probabilities for preferring to live in the native municipality compared to non-participants, but this was not the case for boys. Findings indicate that for girls living in rural Norway, organized sports represent arenas for positive place relations. This diverges from prevailing assumptions of gendered rural space. Furthermore, the study questions common representations of sports arenas as local hearths for masculine versions of Northern rural identity. New developments in leisure’s spatial and social organization within the rural periphery are discussed as potential reasons for these results. By combining and contrasting different strands of feminist thinking, the study gains new insights into gender, sports, and place belonging in the digital age. 

Section
Research Papers

Published

2024-06-30

How to Cite

Gulløy, E. (2024). Gender, sports, and belonging. The role of sports participation in residential preferences among girls and boys living in Norway’s rural peripheries. Fennia - International Journal of Geography. https://doi.org/10.11143/fennia.142427