Athletes as “Sites of Normative Intersectionality”: Critically Exploring the Ontology of Influence in Sport Coaching

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Northumbria University
  • 2 Durham University
  • 3 Deakin University
  • 4 University College Dublin
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Social structure remains an equivocal term in (sport) sociology. Our understandings of its constitution and role in causally influencing behavior are arguably underdeveloped. Using a critical realist approach, this paper examined how structural entities and reflexive agency combined to influence behavior in an elite youth cricket context (e.g., athletes, coaches). A methodological bricolage was used to generate data and Elder-Vass’s theorizing provided the principal heuristic device. The analysis illustrated how coaches acted on behalf of norm circles in their attempts to shape dispositions of athletes. In turn, athletes engaged in a process of dialectical iteration between reflexive deliberation and (intersectional) dispositions, which influenced their social action in this organizational context. This study holds significance for researchers and practitioners concerned with social influence.

Nichol, Hayes, Boocock, Potrac, and Hall are with the Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Nichol is also with the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom. Vickery is with the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia. Potrac is with the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sport Science, University College Dublin, Ireland.

Nichol (a.j.nichol@durham.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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