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  • Author: Celia Brackenridge x
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Joanne Shire, Celia Brackenridge and Mary Fuller

Despite a huge expansion in the literature on individual aspects of sexual identity and sexuality, and the growth of studies on women in sport, there are still relatively few investigations into women’s sporting and sexual subcultures. In addition, practical difficulties frequently preclude the adoption of longitudinal research designs when studying sport groups. With this research we describe the micro-dynamics of a particular women’s field hockey team, tracing the shifting composition of the team from predominantly heterosexual to almost entirely lesbian over the ten year period 1986-1996. A retrospective, longitudinal design was used: data from semi-structured interviews with 26 players were matched against data depicting the changing distribution of heterosexual and lesbian players during the ten year period. Two major findings emerge: first, that the women’s sexual identities were more fluid and complex than most of the literature on women in sport implies. Secondly, the status system of the club was more strongly influenced by organisation sexuality than it was by structural tradition. Consequently the status system changed from one based on structure (i.e. years of experience in the club) to one based on culture (i.e. identity as a lesbian organisation) as the number of self-identified lesbians increased beyond 38%.

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Kari Fasting, Celia Brackenridge and Nada Knorre

This article investigates whether there is a relationship between the sport performance level of female athletes inside the sport (at clubs, competitions, or training events) and outside sport (in family or community settings) and the likelihood that they will be victims of sexual harassment. The study sample consisted of 595 women from the Czech Republic and was divided into three performance groups: elite, non-elite/competing, and exercisers. No significant differences were found between the groups in relation to overall cases of sexual harassment, but when their experiences of sexual harassment inside and outside sport were examined, the picture changed. The chances of being harassed by someone in sport increased with performance level, from 29.7% among the exercisers to 55.2% among the elite-level athletes. However, the highest proportion of women experiencing sexual harassment was seen in the group of the exercises outside of sport (73%). This article discusses the prevalence of sexual harassment in relation to the gender order in Czech society.

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Joy D. Bringer, Celia H. Brackenridge and Lynne H. Johnston

Bringer, Brackenridge, and Johnston (2002) identified role conflict and ambiguity as an emerging theme for some swimming coaches who felt under increased scrutiny because of wider concerns about sexual exploitation in sport (Boocock, 2002). To further understand this emerging theme, 3 coaches who had engaged in sexual relations with athletes, or had allegations of abuse brought against them, took part in in-depth interviews. Grounded theory method (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) was adopted to explore how these coaches responded differently to increased public scrutiny. The findings are discussed in relation to how sport psychologists can help to shape perceptions of coaching effectiveness that are congruent with child protection measures. Reflective practice is proposed as one method by which coaches may embed child and athlete protection in their definition of effective coaching, rather than seeing it as an external force to which they must accommodate.