Triumph of Backlash: Wrestling Community and the “Problem” of Title IX

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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Attempts to unify and mobilize the U.S. collegiate wrestling community to “save” it from decline frames Title IX as the main “problem” to overcome. The logic of a community of identification at work in this strategy limits the interventions that can be made for wrestling while enabling corporate men’s sport to remain the hegemonic form of U.S. collegiate athletics. We explicate and critique the varied articulations of wrestling as a community of identification following Helstein’s (2005) call to deconstruct assumptions of unified sporting communities and to consider communities of articulation. We illustrate how communities of identification necessarily fail and how moving toward communities of articulation offers an intervention that enables a reframing of the relationship between Title IX and collegiate wrestling that could motivate meaningful change.

Theresa A. Walton is with the School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport, Kent State University, 264G Gym Annex, Kent, OH. Michelle T. Helstein is with Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Lethbridge, 4401 University Drive, Lethbridge, AB.

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