Toward a Physical Cultural Studies

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 University of Bath
  • | 2 University of Maryland
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Within this paper we offer what is hopefully both a suggestive (as opposed to definitive) and generative (as opposed to suppressive) signposting of the ontological, epistemological, and methodological boundaries framing the putative intellectual project that is Physical Cultural Studies (PCS). Ground in a commitment toward engaging varied dimensions or expressions of active physicality, we deliberate on an understanding of, and approach to, the corporeal practices, discourses, and subjectivities through which active bodies become organized, represented, and experienced in relation to the operations of social power. Further, drawing on Toby Miller, we suggest that this approach requires a motivation toward progressive social change. We consider the political and axiological contingencies of PCS, how it is differentiated from the “sociology of sport,” and how we may produce the type of knowledge that is able to intervene into the broader social world and make a difference. We are sure many will disagree—perhaps with good reason—with our assumptions. Indeed, such differences are welcomed for we feel that there is greater progressive potential in a field in tension, in healthy contestation, and, in which debates surrounding ontology, epistemology, political intent, method, interpretation, expression, and impact flow freely.

Silk is with the Department of Education, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Bath, Bath, England. Andrews is with Physical Cultural Studies Program, Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.

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