Sport policy in Finland: from class divisions to depoliticisation, from sport for all to business like any other?
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Katedra Socjologii Struktur i Zmian Społecznych, University of Łódź, Faculty of Economics and Sociology, Polska
Submission date: 2023-12-29
Final revision date: 2024-04-09
Acceptance date: 2024-04-16
Online publication date: 2024-05-22
Publication date: 2024-05-22
Corresponding author
Wojciech Woźniak   

Katedra Socjologii Struktur i Zmian Społecznych, University of Łódź, Faculty of Economics and Sociology, Rewolucji 1905 r. nr 41, 90-214, Łódź, Polska
Problemy Polityki Społecznej 2024;65(2):1-19
Sport in Finland has a fundamental societal role as the nation's favourite pastime, serving also various instrumentally defined social goals. Finland for a long time combined very significant successes in elite sport with high levels of physical activity among the population. In recent years, the successes, particularly in individual sports, declined, but Finland remains the country with the highest share of population being physically active. The paper approaches these peculiarities, tracking Finnish sport's historical institutional roots and transformations over the years. Elaborating on the recent reforms of the sport policy, the article points to two crucial processes. The first concerns the transformation of sport policy in accordance with neoliberal ideas, the second relates to depoliticization of sport-related policymaking in Finland. The latter phenomenon is particularly interesting given the long-lasting tradition of class-based, political divisions relating to the field of sport in Finnish context. Both these issues are rarely critically reappraised in otherwise very rich body of academic literature on the transformations of Finnish sport.
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