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“The Stories That Will Make a Difference Aren’t the Easy Ones”: Outdoor Recreation, the Wilderness Ideal, and Complicating Settler Mobility

Jason Laurendeau

In this autoethnography, I read my history of and connection to outdoor culture, with an eye toward interrogating my complicity in historical and ongoing settler-colonial violence that has rendered my love of “the mountains” both possible and ostensibly unproblematic. In so doing, I unsettle (my) understandings of the connections between land, embodiment, masculinities, and able-bodiedness, exploring how settler attachment to the mountains is predicated on and serves to perpetuate, a(n ongoing) history of land dispossession. I also, however, consider a “different temporal horizon” through a discussion of settler futurity as it relates to outdoor recreation, complicating settler mobility in the process.

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The “Crack Choir” and the “Cock Chorus”: The Intersection of Gender and Sexuality in Skydiving Texts

Jason Laurendeau

This article undertakes a qualitative exploration of women’s and men’s songs in the skydiving community in order to explore the intersection of gender and sexuality in this context. Analyses reveal that men’s songs constrain the transformative potential of women in skydiving by trivializing, marginalizing, and sexualizing them. Further, they reinforce male hegemony in skydiving through the construction of a hyperheterosexual masculinity. Meanwhile, women’s songs resist male hegemony in the sport, laying claim to discursive and physical space. One central strategy in this resistance is the construction of a strong heterosexual femininity, thereby asserting a sexual subjectivity neither defined nor controlled by men. This resistance, however, shores up a particular version of heterosexual femininity that contributes to women’s trivialization and sexualization in this setting.

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“If You’re Reading This, It’s Because I’ve Died”: Masculinity and Relational Risk in Base Jumping

Jason Laurendeau

In this autoethnography, I highlight the relationship between risk and responsibility in my gender project as I first take up, and then walk away from, BASE jumping. To address these issues, I write into a space of uncertainty, exploring the productive potential of polyvocality and writing as a method of inquiry.

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“Gendered Risk Regimes”: A Theoretical Consideration of Edgework and Gender

Jason Laurendeau

Recently, a number of researchers have drawn on Lyng’s (1990) theorization of the concept of edgework in explorations of voluntary risk activities in late modernity. Unfortunately, a theoretical consideration of how these edgework activities are gendered is underdeveloped in the edgework literature. In this article I outline the theories that have dominated edgework literature, critique the general oversight of a nuanced theory of gender in edgework, and highlight a sample of evidence showing that participation in “risk sports” (as one example of edgework) is a gendered experience. I also outline the concept of a “gendered risk regime” as a tool for exploring risk and gender as ongoing and intersecting constructions.

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Where is Childhood? In Conversation With Messner and Musto

Jason Laurendeau and Dan Konecny

In this essay, we build upon Messner and Musto’s recent call for sociologists of sport to take “kids” more seriously; we highlight that in addition to taking kids and kids’ sport more seriously, sport scholars might go further toward considering childhood not simply as a stage of life, but as a set of ideas that shape and are shaped by sporting and recreational practices and discourses. To illustrate the value of this approach, we explore a number of complexities and contradictions of contemporary risk discourses, and the ways in which these are connected to the (re)production of young people as vulnerable subjects.

Dans cet essai, nous nous appuyons sur Messner et Musto qui ont récemment encouragé les sociologues du sport à prendre les enfants plus au sérieux; nous soulignons qu’en plus de prendre les enfants et les activités sportives des enfants au sérieux, les chercheurs en sport peuvent aller plus loin et considérer l’enfance non seulement comme une étape de la vie, mais aussi comme un ensemble d’idées qui forment les pratiques et discours sportifs et récréatifs et sont formées par ceux-ci. Pour illustrer le bien-fondé de cette approche, nous explorons un certain nombre de complexités et contradictions qui existent dans les discours actuels sur le risque, et les façons dont ils sont connectés à la (re)production des jeunes comme sujets vulnérables.

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Mountain Equipment Co-Op, “Diversity Work,” and the “Inclusive” Politics of Erasure

Jason Laurendeau, Tiffany Higham, and Danielle Peers

In October 2018, Canadian retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op publicly asked, “Do white people dominate the outdoors?” and acknowledged that their representations were “part of [a] problem.” Relying on Ahmed’s theorizations of diversity work, this paper offers an intersectional interrogation of Mountain Equipment Co-op’s (MEC’s) commitment to including more “diversity” in their representations and considers how both MEC’s statement and their early efforts to diversify simultaneously efface the gendered, ableist, fatphobic, settler colonial and racist structuring of “the outdoors” both in MEC’s practices and in “Canada” more broadly. Our analysis highlights how MEC’s practices continue to reflect and reproduce the appropriation of wilderness for a narrow range of bodies.

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Truth Untold? Evidence, Knowledge, and Research Practice(s)

Michael D. Giardina and Jason Laurendeau