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The Carceral Logic of Female Eligibility Policies: Gender as a Civilizing Narrative, the Science of Sex Testing, and Anti-Trans Legislation 1


Female eligibility policies punish people for gender nonconformity and normalize patriarchal rule. These policies were used first to exclude women deemed “too masculine” from competing against women who more closely conform to gender stereotypes. In recent years, this form of discipline has dovetailed with efforts to determine the circumstances, if any, under which transgender women may compete against cisgender women. Modern sport, as a set of institutions, does not stand apart from capitalism, colonialism, white supremacy, and heteropatriarchy. In this article, I use a prison abolitionist lens to connect anti-trans campaigns and female eligibility policies that police sporting identity to the carceral logics of racial capitalism to make the argument that sex surveillance is related to race, social control, and capital accumulation.

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A Perfect Storm: Black Feminism and Women’s National Basketball Association Black Athlete Activism

Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown, A. Lamont Williams, Amanda N. Schweinbenz, and Ann Pegoraro

This article pays homage to Black Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) players and their activist efforts. Such players are often-overlooked activists who are always “holdin it down” while simultaneously keeping activism at the forefront of their agenda. When the 2020 Women’s National Basketball Association season opened, the athletes in this league took the opportunity to highlight social injustice in the United States; not surprising given the history of Black feminism and athlete activism in this league. Using underwater waves as a metaphor, we examine how the intersectionality of Black feminism and Black athlete activism has largely gone unnoticed. Feminism and women’s rights movements have largely been associated with White women while Black activism has been associated with Black men. This manuscript aims to highlight the efforts of Black women and nonbinary athletes whose work has been instrumental in societal progression.

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A New Typology of Out-of-School Youth Sports in 21st Century America: The Contrasting Organizational Logics of “Sport-Focused” and “Sport-for-Development” Programming Under Neoliberal Conditions

Douglas Hartmann, Teresa Toguchi Swartz, Edgar Jesus Campos, Amy August, Alex Manning, and Sarah Catherine Billups

Out-of-school youth sport in the United States is bigger, more varied, and more impactful than ever before. In dialogue with existing scholarship, this paper uses multisite, collaborative fieldwork to identify core elements of program variation and develop a composite typology of this organizational field. The typology is based on a distinction between “sport-focused” programs and programs oriented toward nonsport social and developmental goals. Our primary insight is that programs within these domains exhibit two different organizational logics, one hierarchical, the other categorical. We also argue that variabilities of funding, social context, and reliance on public facilities are additional factors that impact the operation and effectiveness of these program types including their ability to address the racialized challenges of access, equity, and inclusion. Theorizing these differential configurations and their underlying characteristics can help parents, policymakers, practitioners (including coaches), and sports researchers engage youth sports more effectively under increasingly competitive neoliberal conditions.

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Erratum. Trans Women and/in Sport: Exploring Sport Feminisms to Understand Exclusions

Sociology of Sport Journal

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“Futures—Past,” A Reflection of 40 Years of the Sociology of Sport Journal: An Introduction

Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown, Chen Chen, Tomika Ferguson, Courtney Szto, Anthony Jean Weems, and Natalie Welch

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Brittney Griner, Intersectionality, and “Woke Politics”: A Critical Examination of Brittney Griner’s Return to the United States

Ajhanai C.I. Keaton, Evan Frederick, Keisha Branch, and Ann Pegoraro

In February of 2022, professional women’s basketball player Brittney Griner was detained in Russia on drug possession charges. Her detainment was a trending Twitter topic demonstrating the cultural, political, and social state of the United States, specifically pertaining to race, gender, nationality, and LGBTQ matters. The purpose of this study was to analyze what Brittney Griner’s release from Russia tells us about social power relations and contemporary social political matters on the axis of race, gender, and sexual orientation. We organized the data to determine three distinct, yet interconnected themes: (a) Woke Politics at the Intersection of Race, Gender, and Queerness; (b) Preferential Treatment at the Expense of Whiteness Informed Patriotism; and (c) Intersectionality as Political Pandering.

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Indigenizing Sport Research: Analyzing Protective Factors of Exercising Sovereignty in North America

Alisse Ali-Joseph, Kelsey Leonard, and Natalie Welch

Indigenous Peoples have an inherent responsibility and right to “exercising” sovereignty—the practice of sport and physical activity in performance of our cultural, political, and spiritual citizenship. By exercising this inherent right and responsibility, sport has the power for communities to reenvision their futures. Sport and physical activity are highly regarded and practiced in multiple contexts within Indigenous communities. Utilizing Indigenous ways of knowing, practices of resurgence, Indigenous activism, and Indigenous responses to political and cultural injustices, we apply the five protective factors of “exercising” sovereignty, including community, relationality, strength, abundance, and resilience to analyze Indigenous sport research in North America.

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Letter From the Editor

Cheryl Cooky

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The Penalty That’s Never Called: Sexism in Men’s Hockey Culture

Teresa Anne Fowler, Shannon D.M. Moore, and Tim Skuce

During the summer of 2022, Hockey Canada faced a reckoning regarding its outright denial of the ways in which gender-based violence is a part of hockey culture. This paper shares data from a study that involved qualitative interviews with semi/professional men’s ice hockey players regarding their resistance to the expectations of hypermasculinity in hockey culture. Hypermasculinity is the elevated status of traits that promote violence, stoicism, and aggression and that privileges the locker-room code of silence. Participants spoke about the dangers of playing through pain as well as the precarity of their roles on their teams due to policing strategies that put the team before anything else. The participants were less direct about the ways sexism and misogyny are used as a means to improve team bonding and performance, yet stories of sexism and misogyny were riddled throughout the data. Our analysis brings together Bourdieu’s concept of misrecognition to gain understanding as to why sexism remains/ed silent and Freire’s conscientization to promote more dialogic encounters to clear the air of sexism in men’s ice hockey.

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The Case for Marxist–Leninist Sport: Going Beyond the Limitations of Western Liberalism

Munene Mwaniki

The sociology of sport has developed within and been intricately involved in the critique of neoliberalism. While important, there are certain limitations to this scholarship that are related to the nature of Western liberalism and academia. This paper attempts to argue a role for Marxist–Leninist thought in the sociology of sport. Historically excluded from academia after World War II, this bias is part of what Gabriel Rockhill has described as the “Global Theory Industry,” that decries socialism while remaining favorable to Western liberal capitalism. The anti-communism of the theory industry means that much of the work on neoliberalism and Marxism in the sociology of sport has ignored the experiences and efforts of socialist countries, as well as theorists from the Global South. This article broadly critiques existing neoliberal and Marxist studies of sport while arguing that a Marxist–Leninist approach may give those in the field a better account of sport and its relationship to domestic and global politics.