Empowerment Discourses in Transnational Sporting Contexts: The Case of Sarah Attar, The First Female Saudi Olympian

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This article starts with the occasion of the 2012 London Olympics as “The Women’s Olympics” and looks both backward and forward to situate this occasion within the global north’s discourses of global human rights and neoliberal feminism. The global north’s coverage of the 2012 Olympics and Oiselle’s branding campaigns of Sarah Attar acts as data. I use transnational feminist analysis in combination with Foucauldian discourse analysis to trace how the global north’s discourses of human rights and neoliberal feminism travel and operate in transnational sporting contexts. As such, I trace the female athlete’s representation as white, middle-class, and heterosexual as a regime of truth. The discourses of human rights and neoliberal feminism, when networked with commodified images of women from the middle east and the politics of US feminism and the middle east, uncovers the neoliberal feminist cultural logics surrounding the branding of Attar.

Stevenson is with the Department of English, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ.

Address author correspondence to Paulette Stevenson at paulette@asu.edu.
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