Azul’s PhD project and context

Research school

School – Sport – Screen

School, sport, screen is a newly started research school that aims to increase knowledge about the relationship between education, physical activity and digital media. The research school is a collaboration between three Swedish universities and brings together three disciplines – sociology of education at Uppsala University, sports science at the Swedish School of Gymnastics and Sports, and media and communication science at Södertörn University. The activity includes nine doctoral students admitted to postgraduate programs in the three disciplines at the participating universities.

Visit the website here (in Swedish).

Picture of the nine doctoral students in the research school.

Learning to Esport:

Understanding youth, media and learning in Swedish upper-secondary schools

Informal summary, spring 2023

Wanting to make a career out of a hobby is a central issue for many people, especially for young people. This aspect is often limited by the financial conditions, can one earn enough to make a living? How would you do it? Computer games have long been considered an unproductive leisure activity, but it has become more accepted and integrated in society than it was 20 years ago. Today, many people’s everyday lives are filled with game-related practices — a woman playing Candy Crush on the train, a bunch of teenagers talking to each other in an incomprehensible language (which is actually Internet slang), or me who researches games and gaming. One of the most recent advancements in gaming culture is the emergence of Esport (short for electronic sport) which refers to organized leagues for competitive computer gaming. This phenomenon has grown so much in its popularity that there are now educational programs in high schools and universities around the world where you can study to become a cyber athlete. Thus, what is the point of equipping schools with Esport profiles, what social benefit does the Esports industry strive to fill? And why do young people choose to enroll in Esport programs? How is the everyday life of young people shaped or limited by technology?

Esports research is still new and requires further scrutiny, especially studies that examine Esport education from a sociological perspective and how they affect young people’s development of “self” and the school system more generally. I will address this gap in research by collecting and analyzing material from interviews with students, teachers and other administrative staff in Swedish secondary schools with Esport profiles, as well as observations of students’ everyday interactions with technology. The aim is to investigate young people’s learning practices in everyday life in relation to technology and their perceptions of their future.

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