This paper adopts Elias’ theory of established and outsider relations (Elias and Scotson, 1994) to argue that women riders are “outsiders” within the racing figuration. The paper draws on data collected from eight semi-structured interviews with experienced female jockeys. It is suggested by the authors that female jockeys remain outsiders within the racing figuration in the UK. In particular, female jockeys are largely resigned to their inferior position as their views of male jockeys remain deeply ingrained in stereotypes about gender. The increasing organizational changes that have allowed women to be a part of the Jockey Club, be granted licenses, train and compete alongside males do not appear to have changed attitudes toward female jockeys, who are largely perceived as weaker and less capable than male jockeys.
Philippa Velija and Leah Flynn
Mark Mierzwinski, Philippa Velija, and Dominic Malcolm
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), like the majority of relatively violent sports, has mainly been organized around the capabilities of the male body. However various indices suggest that women’s engagement with MMA is growing. The purpose of this paper is to offer an analysis of women’s involvement in MMA using a figurational sociological approach. In doing so, we draw on interview data with “elite” female mixed martial artists to explore the extent to which females within MMA experience a specifically gendered “quest for excitement.” The paper further illustrates how the notion of “civilized bodies” can be used to interpret the distinctly gendered experiences of shame in relation to fighting in combat sports, the physical markings incurred as a consequence, and perceptions of sexual intimacy in the close physical contact of bodies. In so doing this paper provides the first figurationally-informed study of female sport involvement to focus explicitly on the role of violence in mediating social relations, while refining aspects of the figurational sociological approach to provide a more adequate framework for the analysis of gender relations.