This paper takes up the challenge posed by McDonald (2006) among others to interrogate queer privilege in the analysis of sport and sexuality. Using Puar’s (2007) concepts of sexual exceptionalism and homonationalism, and Morgensen’s (2010) notion of settler homonationalism, I analyze specific examples from the 2002 and 2006 Gay Games, and 2006 Outgames to demonstrate how emancipatory sexual identity events have also reiterated white, Western, bourgeois privilege through aspects of their instantiations. The argument is not just that race has to be added to the analysis of the international lesbian and gay sport movement, it is that relying on a primary focus such as homophobia actually contributes to the reproduction of other forms of potent oppression. The paper ends with a reading of the 2010 Winter Olympics as a new context for homonationalism in the production of queer abjection.
Judy Davidson and Debra Shogan
We argue that Messner’s 1996 address makes it acceptable to write about queer theory as long as the discourse reproduces the stable knowledge bases and political aims of a new hegemonic “critical” sports studies. This is not queer “studying up”; it is “sociology of sport as usual.” A queer “studying up” traces and deconstructs the processes that produce heterosexuality as “the normal” in sport, and it requires the sport sociologist to be reflexive about the ways in which he or she is invested in “the normal.”
Judy Davidson and Michelle Helstein
This paper compares two hockey-related breast-flashing events that occurred in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The first was performed by Calgary Flames fans, the ‘Flamesgirls’, in the 2004 NHL Stanley Cup final, and the second flashing event occurred when members and fans of the Booby Orr hockey team participated in lifting their shirts and jerseys at a lesbian hockey tournament at the 2007 Outgames/Western Cup held in Calgary. We deploy an analysis of visual psychic economies to highlight psychoanalytic framings of masculinized and feminized subject positions in both heteronormative and lesbigay-coded sporting spaces. We suggest there is a queer twist to the Booby Orr flashing context, which we read as disruptive and potentially resistive. The paper ends by turning to Avery Gordon’s (1997) Ghostly Matters, to consider how even in its queer transgression, the Booby Orr flashing scene is simultaneously haunted and saturated by the absent presence of colonial technologies of visuality and sexual violence. It is argued that in this case, openings for transgressive gender dynamics might be imaginable—even as those logics themselves are disciplined and perhaps made possible through racialized colonial framings of appropriate desire.
Jay Scherer, Judy Davidson, Rylan Kafara, and Jordan Koch
The new urban sporting territory in Edmonton’s city center was constructed within the framework of continued settler colonialism. The main catalyst for this development was sport-related gentrification: a new, publicly financed ice hockey arena for the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers, and a surrounding sport and entertainment district. This two-year ethnography explores this territory, in particular the changing interactions between preexisting, less affluent city-center residents and police, private security, crisis workers, and hockey fans. It reveals how residents navigate the physical and spatial changes to a downtown that are not only structured by revanchism, but by what Rai Reece calls “carceral redlining,” or the continuation of White supremacy through regulation, surveillance, displacement, and dispossession.
Mary Louise Adams, Michelle T. Helstein, Kyoung-yim Kim, Mary G. McDonald, Judy Davidson, Katherine M. Jamieson, Samantha King, and Geneviéve Rail
This collection of commentaries emerged from ongoing conversations among the contributors about our varied understandings of and desires for the sport studies field. One of our initial concerns was with the absence/presence of feminist thought within sport studies. Despite a rich history of feminist scholarship in sport studies, we have questioned the extent to which feminism is currently being engaged or acknowledged as having shaped the field. Our concerns crystallized during the spirited feminist responses to a fiery roundtable debate on Physical Cultural Studies (PCS) at the annual conference of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) in New Orleans in November 2012. At that session, one audience member after another spoke to what they saw as the unacknowledged appropriation by PCS proponents of longstanding feminist—and feminist cultural studies—approaches to scholarship and writing. These critiques focused not just on the intellectual moves that PCS scholars claim to be making but on how they are made, with several audience members and some panelists expressing their concerns about the territorializing effects of some strains of PCS discourse.