This paper analyzes the discourse surrounding AIDS and HIV in the light of Magic Johnson’s public announcement that he was HIV positive. In the context of the New Right backlash of the 1980s, the bodies of Johnson and others have been used to (re)produce specific, narrowly defined messages about the meaning of AIDS and the HIV virus. Commercial and professional sports interests have used this event to enter into a well-established discourse that reproduces and reinforces the dominant messages of homophobia and misogyny surrounding the syndrome.
This article offers a review of the sociology of sport research on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) subjects with the aim of analyzing the extent to which this work is participating in the mainstreaming of LGBTQ sexual politics. In identifying points of convergence between “homonormativity” (Duggan, 2003) and research in the sociology of sport, the essay highlights the limitations of scholarship that equates visibility and identity with power and legitimacy; argues for studies that critically interrogate, rather than reproduce, White bourgeois normativity; and advocates for writing that is not nationally bound and insular, but rather intimately engaged with the geopolitical urgencies of our time. Based on an overview of five key features of queer theory, the author argues that a more robust queer approach to research on sexuality is required if sociologists of sport are to avoid colluding with the exclusionary discourses that characterize homonormativity.
Samantha J. King and Mary G. McDonald
Samantha King, R. Scott Carey, Naila Jinnah, Rob Millington, Andrea Phillipson, Carolyn Prouse and Matt Ventresca
This paper uses a genealogical approach to explore the conjuncture at which the longstanding but partial and uneasy silence surrounding painkiller use in the National Football League seems increasingly under threat. We historicize and problematize apparently self-evident narratives about painkiller use in contemporary football by interrogating the gendered, racialized and labor-related discourses surrounding Brett Favre’s 1996 admission of a dependency on Vicodin, as well as the latest rash of confessions of misuse by now retired athletes. We argue that these coconstructed and coconstructing moments of noise and silence are part of the same discursive system. This system serves to structure the emerging preoccupation with painkillers in the NFL, with Favre’s admission still working to placate anxieties surrounding the broader drug problems endemic to the league, and failing to disrupt our implicit knowingness about painkiller use, thus reinforcing ongoing cultures of silence and toughness in professional football.
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.