Trygve B. Broch
Common Norwegian conceptions of team handball define it as a woman’s sport. What happens when Norwegian media portray men playing a women’s sport? This article investigates the definitional paradox of Norwegian handball by investigating TV2’s representations of men’s handball. To develop an understanding of contemporary gender dynamics, Norwegian handball is explored and analyzed as embodying a form of gender tension. The socio-cultural solution to such tensions is analytically manifested when the concept of hegemonic masculinity (Connell 2005), as an ideal symbolic form of masculinity, is combined with Bourdieu’s (1991) concept of symbolic power. Norwegian journalists are analyzed as producing contextually ideal masculinity, challenging common Norwegian conceptions of the sport as a women’s game, and resolving possible gendered tension in Norwegian handball through symbolic power. The article concerns the psychosocial and socio-cultural mechanism of gendered meaning-making through symbolic representations. When televised by Norwegian TV2; men’s handball becomes a masculine and manly sport.
sport, gender tension, media, discourse, symbolism