The Technologies of the Self: Sport, Feminism, and Foucault

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Pirkko Markula University of Exeter

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Following Michel Foucault, feminist sport scholars have demonstrated how women’s physical activity can act as a technology of domination that anchors women into a discoursive web of normalizing practices. There has been less emphasis on Foucault’s later work that focuses on the individual’s role of changing the practices of domination. Foucault argues that human beings turn themselves into subjects through what he labels “the technologies of the self.” While his work is not gender specific, some feminists have seen the technologies of the self as a possibility to reconceptualize the self, agency and resistance in feminist theory and politics. In this paper, I aim to examine what Foucault’s technologies of self can offer feminists in sport studies. I begin by reviewing applications of Foucault’s technology of the self to analyses of women’s physical activity. I will next locate the technologies of the self within Foucault’s theory of power, self and ethics to further reflect how valuable this concept can be for feminist sport studies.

The author is with the Qualitative Research Unit, School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.

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