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The ‘body pedagogics’ of an elite footballer’s career path: analysing Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s biography
Department of Education, University of Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden. (SMED (Studies in meaning-making and educational discourses)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0579-4201
School of Health and Education, University of Skövde, Högskolevägen, Sweden.
2016 (English)In: Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, ISSN 1740-8989, E-ISSN 1742-5786Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Background: Pedagogical research on career is encouraged to not limit sport learning to athletic skills, coaching effectiveness and coach–athlete relationships, but to also focus on learning in a multidimensional sense in the context of an athlete’s individual and social biography. This article examines an elite athlete’s career path as a body pedagogic phenomenon involving processes of self-transformation in relation to practical, social and embodied environments.

Purpose: The purpose is to analyse the career path of the elite footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic by focusing on how different learning environments relate to different embodiments of techniques and skills and how values and norms shape professionalism.

Theoretical frameworks: A combined framework of body pedagogics and John Dewey’s theory of aesthetic experience is used to understand an elite career path as a learning trajectory involving different self-transformation means. Hence, the elite athlete is viewed as a career climber who creates his own educational pathway and engages in processes of participating, acquiring and becoming.

Data analysis: A practical epistemology analysis (PEA) with a focus on aesthetic judgements is used to analyse the narrative of Zlatan’s career path as it is portrayed in the biography I Am Zlatan: My Story on and Off the Field. One major theme is identified, namely that Zlatan develops from being a dribbler to a striker. Against this background, Zlatan Ibrahomovic’s self-transformation is scrutinised in relation to three different sub-themes (suburb, arena and team) in three different ways (auto-didactic, education and educator) to create distinct and heterogeneous forms of knowledge in support of professional artistry.

Results: The analysis offers an elaborated empirical description of how the means and ends of self-transformation develop reciprocally throughout Zlatan’s elite career and how this relates to practical, social and embodied environments. Examples of body pedagogic outcomes are: (1) different commitments to training, team culture and the coach–athlete relationship (social), (2) that Zlatan uses his dribbling skills more purposefully for scoring goals and satisfying the coach (embodied) and (3) that he is able to win different leagues and titles with different teams (practical).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2016.
Keyword [en]
Football; career; body pedagogics; pragmatism; aesthetic
National Category
Educational Sciences Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-58083DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2016.1268591OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-58083DiVA: diva2:1111016
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2013-2200
Available from: 2017-06-16 Created: 2017-06-16 Last updated: 2017-06-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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