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Gymkulturens logik: Om samverkan mellan kropp, gym och samhälle
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
1999 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to deal with gym culture, specifically what happens at a gym, how the interplay between gyms, body and society is to be understood. The collection of data required for the thesis took place in two different gyms, and in all 62 observations were made and 974 questionnaires were filled in by gym visitors. One of the results is that people training at a gym may be divided into a number of categories, such as the beginner, the everyday person, the rehabilitator, the complement trainer, the experienced body-builder, the gym girl and the muffler. Important motives for training, for women as well as for men, are to be in good physical shape, to get muscles, to get a firm body, to get inner satisfaction, and because it is supposed to be good for one's health. On the basis of certain theories bearing on consumption in modern society these results were interpreted as a desire to have a better body, which is in harmony with present-day body ideals. With the aid of the theoretical concept occupational value it was also demonstrated that gym training starts a process which generates a special hierarchy among the participants, a process in which muscles, strength, firmness, behaviour and clothes rank high and are important for one's position in the hierarchical order. This process was similar at both gyms, which indicates that there is a general gym culture. In spite of the tendencies to reduce gender differences, shown in previous research, the author draws the conclusion that gym culture increases gender differences rather than reduces them. The desire of the participants to imitate prevalent gender ideals may be seen as attempts to define clearly what is manly and what is womanly, hence perpetuating these ideals. Finally, it was shown that the styles and games found at the gyms are parts of a symbolic postmodernist consumption language, but at the same time the gyms are to a large extent characterised by what is typical of modern society (order, routines, systems). These modern processes were prominent and guided the activities at the gyms and created their logic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet , 1999. , 206 p.
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 52
Keyword [en]
body, gyms, modern society, consumer culture
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-16555ISBN: 91-7191-722-5OAI: diva2:156228
Public defence
Available from: 2007-10-07 Created: 2007-10-07 Last updated: 2012-11-01Bibliographically approved

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