After having worked as a visual artist for many years, I began to study sociology in the autumn of 2003. As an artist I had been interested in ideas about body, gender, inequality and difference. At this time my family moved to a housing area close to Malmö’s main sports stadium, and suddenly my daughters and I could watch athletics and figure-skating competitions on weekends. Marit, my performance colleague in the art world, had a daughter who played football and talked about life as a football mum: biting wind at the side of the pitch early Sunday mornings and lumpy inflatable mattresses in the gym; but also about girls who elbowed their way along in the school corridor when the boys were fooling around. My newly awakened interest led to a master’s thesis about the construction of femininity among football girls, going for the top level in a masculine context. Some time after taking that degree I was asked if I wanted to carry out a pilot study about disabled children and youth and their experience of disability sports. I accepted and began the work that led to a doctoral thesis and eventually this book. How, then, has my understanding of the body changed during this time,

through the sociological gaze? A more societal perspective on the body is, of course, inevitable: the increasingly important questions of what influence globalization, governmental policy and social movements have on different bodies. From chiefly having focused as an artist on questions about gender, the interest has widened to include more power and status structures. When the study on the football girls was finished I regarded them as subordinate to the players in the boys’ and men’s teams. Certainly they challenged the feminine norm by their way of acting physically and mentally; but at the same time change was hindered by other people’s conservative approach to girls who play football, by the sports movement’s sticking to the view of women and men as two separate, homogeneous groups and by the sluggishness of the media. However, it was not until after a year or more of work with the thesis that I realized how close to the norm those young players’ bodies were. A shift has taken place in my artistic activity from a psychological focus to

a more society-oriented one. But the difference between the artistic and the sociological practice has also become more evident. In social science the ethical framework, which I sometimes have missed in the field of art, is to be found,

while art has a playfulness that is not easily perceived in the field of science. An interest in methodology and theory unite the two.1