#picturesofchange: Physical self-representations in social media as a sign of change in sports- and movement culture – An integrative review with implications for physical education

Fabian Muhsal, David Jaitner, Jannika John

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearch


The mediatization of communicative action is a process that centrally moderates social change. Changes in communication (e.g., through new kinds of media) thus have momentous consequences for social forms and processes. As essential cultural signs, social bodies, their medial representation, and areas of society in which bodies play a role are interrelated with changes in communication. Currently, physical self-representations in digital media play a key role and hold strong possibilities of influence on the culture of sports and movement. The aim of this study was to identify the effects of visual self-representations in social media on this culture. Following an integrative review methodology, we systematically organised the current state of empirical evidence and identified the implications that digital self-representations in social media (esp., Instagram, Facebook) have on sports and movement culture and therefore possibly on physical education (PE). Six electronic databases, reference lists, and citations of full-text articles were searched for English and German language peer-reviewed articles. The search string combined different terms relating to social media and sports culture. Two independent reviewers screened all identified studies for eligibility and assessed the methodological quality of the included studies. The results point to direct changes in some sports and movement cultures such as the prosumtion (consumption and production) of videos in skateboarding or the perpetuation of body ideals in the fitness culture. Other sports and movement cultures are changed indirectly via different new use cases for the athletes, as they can use social media to either build communities or gain visibility. As the practice of prosuming bodily self-representations is a growing part of the lifeworld of adolescents, such practices could become content within PE. Therewith, students could acquire competencies that allow them to intellectually relate to these practices, which could help them in understanding, changing or transcending their existing realities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number006
JournalCurrent issues in sport science : CISS : the official journal of the sport scientific societies of Austria and Switzerland
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)006
Publication statusPublished - 19.01.2024