Making Weight: Lightweight Rowing, Technologies of Power, and Technologies of the Self

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Gwen E. Chapman University of British Columbia

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This paper uses a Foucauldian framework for understanding how human experience is shaped by relations of power to explore the weight management practices of members of a women’s lightweight rowing team. Like other forms of disciplinary power, making weight involves implementing a regimen governed by normalizing assumptions, maintained through self-monitoring, and supported by discourse. The practices of making weight also are examined as a technology of the self that the rowers used to create and understand themselves. The position of women’s sport at the intersection of sports and gender discourse offered the rowers opportunities to oppose relations of power while reinforcing their limits within the confines of a disciplinary matrix.

Gwen E. Chapman is with the School of Family and Nutritional Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4.

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