The Many Levels of Sports Narration


  • Martti Silvennoinen University of Jyväskylä



sport, narrations, microhistory, personal


At its most a typical sports narrative records what happens in space and time. Alongside this traditional history of events there has emerged a research approach that might be called structural sports history. Its methods move in the world under the surface of facts, explored by researchers in ways that resemble archaeology. The aim is to uncover the changed human relationships and new forms of presence in sport—figurations of corporeality, space and time. Where the event-history approach recounts and recapitulates, the new approach works towards interpretation and understanding. These two are joined by yet a third element, the most intimate aspect of sports narratives: microhistory and the routes that it opens to the interfaces between the public and the private and the general and the particular, where the reader-oriented focus of the experiencing and narrating subject is necessarily foregrounded and at this point surface such elements of narrativity as the "confessional", the "meditative" and the " fragmentary" (auto)biography. The article describes different levels of a sports narrative and their conventions in qualitative sports research. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0402208


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Author Biography

Martti Silvennoinen, University of Jyväskylä

Martti SILVENNOINEN, PhD, is a Professor of Sports Pedagogy at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. He teaches methodology of narrative studies in sport and physical education. He is also interested in men's studies and the questions concerning the body and identity (see e.g. SPARKES, A. C. & SILVENNOINEN, M. [1999] [Eds.]. Talking Bodies. Men's Narratives of the Body and Sport).




How to Cite

Silvennoinen, M. (2004). The Many Levels of Sports Narration. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(2).