A sport sociological analysis of urban running communities in Denmark

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearch

  • Line Kremmer Pedersen
The market of running is rapidly developing and a new phenomenon has established itself in Denmark in form of self-organized, individualized running communities. The present study examines the characteristics of selected urban running communities: NBRO Running in Copenhagen, RUNAAR in Aarhus and AARUN in Aalborg. The main focuses are: 1) why and how they have been developed, 2) to what extent they can accommodate runners at different levels, 3) whether runners are equally established in the communities and 4) why runners participate in these communities rather than in traditional running clubs or run individually. Inspiration is drawn from Bauman’s concept of ‘liquid modernity and community’ supplemented with sociological concepts of Giddens and Elias. The study is based on a qualitative research design including indepth interviews and participant observations.

Key findings show that the new urban running communities are volatile, liquid and non-binding ‘peg’ communities that respond to the runners’ need for individuality and sense of community (Bauman, 2000). Particularly the fact that they are free of charge and non-binding are highlighted as qualities by the runners, because it enables them to adjust their training to their busy everyday lives.

They experience a 'momentary’ sense of community when running together or joining ‘swarms’ of runners during competitions. Social events are prioritized as much as the sport itself which strengthens the relations between the runners. Unevenness in the balance of power between the runners, however, also exists (Elias, 1994).

Even though the urban running communities have developed in response to the traditional running clubs, the two forms of communities are not to be regarded as competitors. Instead, they complement and influence each other by accommodating different types and generations of runners.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNordic Sociological Association Conference 2018 - NSA 2018 - Aalborg, Denmark, 8th - 10th August 2018 : Book of Abstracts
Number of pages1
Publication date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventNSA 2018: The 29th Nordic Sociological Association Conference: The Global North – Welfare policies, mobilities, inequalities, and social movements - Aalborg Universitet, Aalborg, Denmark
Duration: 8 Aug 201810 Aug 2018


ConferenceNSA 2018: The 29th Nordic Sociological Association Conference
LocationAalborg Universitet

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Liquid modernity, Individuality, Community, Running community, Balance of power

ID: 209117597