© 2020

A Performative Feel for the Game

How Meaningful Sports Shape Gender, Bodies, and Social Life


Part of the Cultural Sociology book series (CULTSOC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Trygve B. Broch
    Pages 1-39
  3. Media, Sport Enchantment and Gender

  4. Socialization, Sport Felicity and Gender

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 111-111
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 201-209

About this book


"The meaning of sport is gendered—but not always as we might be imagining. A Performative Feel for the Game goes beyond taken-for-granted gender hierarchies. Through a cultural analysis of Norwegian handball, Trygve Broch teaches us how narratives, historical myths and welfare policies intermingle with processes of democratization, showing how sport is not reducible to power and inequality. A multifaceted social and existential sphere is thereby opened up. This is an exciting and intriguing read that will generate a lively debate among sport sociologists."

—Anna Lund, Associate Professor of Sociology, Stockholm University, Sweden


Applying a cultural sociology of performance, this book interrogates how the meaning of sport intersects with gender. Trygve B. Broch points out uncertainties in the causal arguments made by key figures in the cultural studies tradition, instead advancing a meaning-centered study of sports as involving both a social and an athletic performance. Sports not only reflect or reverse social realities, but capture and keep our attention when we use and experience them as a means to reflect on social life, injustice, and hierarchy. More specifically, blending approaches from media studies with ethnography, Broch explores the women-dominated sport of handball in Norway, a country that considers gender equality a basis of democracy. As such, the analyses here show how broadly available meanings about sameness and equality are mediated and experienced through a performative feel for the game.


cultural sociology performance theory gender media youth culture Norway Norwegian culture handball

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Inland Norway University of Applied ScieElverumNorway

About the authors

Trygve B. Broch is Associate Professor at the Department of Public Health and Sport Sciences, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway. He is also a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University, USA. 

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title A Performative Feel for the Game
  • Book Subtitle How Meaningful Sports Shape Gender, Bodies, and Social Life
  • Authors Trygve B. Broch
  • Series Title Cultural Sociology
  • Series Abbreviated Title Cultural Sociology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-35128-1
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-35131-1
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-35129-8
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 209
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Sociological Theory
    Sociology of Sport and Leisure
    Sociology of Culture
    Gender Studies
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“I found it to be a challenging read. … I would encourage anyone with an interest in sport and gender to read this book, challenging as it might be, primarily for the stories about the lives and interactions of the young handball players.” (Alan Bairner,, June 18, 2020)