18 SES 09, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
Gender in sport is a fairly explored area of research (see e.g. Scraton & Flintoff, 2002). However, there is not much research on how gender orders are (re)produced through practice. This means, for instance what it means that sport “involves direct contact, body-to-body struggle, as in wrestling or American football, or on the contrary, excludes all contact, as in golf, or only allows it through the mediation of a ball, as in tennis, or of special equipment, as in fencing” (Bourdieu, 1988, p. 153), and more notably, if the body contact – direct or indirect – is between male and female or not, or whether the rules are ‘adapted’ to ‘fit’ any gender or not. The theoretical framework for the study is poststructuralist, where the structure of relationships of interest is the relationships between how bodies are organised in sport competitions, i.e. ‘the rules of engagement’ in sport competitions. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault, different body relationships, different rules of engagement, are viewed as different discourses, where the concept ‘discourse’ designates practices that systematically form speaking/moving subjects and objects of speech/meaningful movements (Foucault, 1974; 1998). The aim of the presentation is to outline an analysis of how gender is inscribed in different sport discourses, namely
- A body-after-body discourse: sportspersons perform their ‘attempts’ one after the other, as in artistic gymnastics.
- A body-next to-body discourse: sportspersons perform their ‘attempts’ simultaneously and next to each other, as in swimming.
- A body-to-body discourse: sportspersons interact directly with one another, either in terms of body-with-body, as in dancing, or in terms of body-against-body, as in the martial arts.
- A body-among-bodies discourse: a group of athletes cooperate in order to achieve a common goal, either in terms of body-among/with-bodies: where the performance is displayed one group at the time, as in synchronised swimming, or in terms of body-among/against-bodies: where two groups at the time struggle over the same space, as in most team games, to achieve an ‘external’ goal.
Bourdieu, P. (1988) Program for a sociology of sport, Sociology of Sport Journal, 5, 153-162. Florence, M. (pseudonym for M. Foucault) (1998) Foucault, in Essential works of Foucault 1954-1984, Vol. 2. Aesthetics, Method and Epistemology. New York: The New Press, pp. 459-463. Foucault, M. (1974) The Archaeology of Knowledge. London: Tavistock. Scraton, S. and Flintoff, A. (2002) Gender in Sport: A Reader. London: Routledge.
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