In November 2010, the US media reported that basketball player Diana Taurasi tested positive for a banned substance while playing in Turkey. In this study, we explore the media coverage of Taurasi’s positive drug test from a Deleuzian perspective. We consider the media coverage as an assemblage (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987; Malins, 2004) to analyze how Taurasi’s drug using body is articulated with the elite female sporting body in the coverage of her doping incident (Markula, 2004; Wise, 2011). Our analysis demonstrates that Taurasi’s position as a professional basketball player in the US dominated the discussion to legitimize her exoneration of banned substance use. In addition, Turkey, its “amateur” sport and poor drug control procedure, was located to the periphery to normalize a certain type of professionalism, doping control, and body as the desirable elements of sporting practice.
Rylee Dionigi and Gabrielle O’Flynn
Physical performance discourses are concerned with improving fitness and competing to win or achieve a personal best. Older people are commonly not recognized as acceptable or normal subjects of performance discourses because they are traditionally positioned as weak and less able. Yet the number of older people participating in physically demanding competitive sports is increasing. The purpose of this paper is to use a poststructural framework to explore how Masters athletes use performance discourses to define their participation. Interviews and observations were conducted with 138 participants (ages 55–94) of the 8th Australian Masters Games. The findings indicate that performance discourses work both as a medium for redefining what it means to be an older athlete and for re-inscribing normalized constructs of the acceptable older athlete.
Alexandra J. Rankin-Wright, Kevin Hylton and Leanne Norman
The article examines how UK sport organizations have framed race equality and diversity, in sport coaching. Semistructured interviews were used to gain insight into organizational perspectives toward ‘race’, ethnicity, racial equality, and whiteness. Using Critical Race Theory and Black feminism, color-blind practices were found to reinforce a denial that ‘race’ is a salient factor underpinning inequalities in coaching. The dominant practices employed by key stakeholders are discussed under three themes: equating diversity as inclusion; fore fronting meritocracy and individual agency; and framing whiteness. We argue that these practices sustain the institutional racialised processes and formations that serve to normalize and privilege whiteness. We conclude that for Black and minoritised ethnic coaches to become key actors in sport coaching in the UK ‘race’ and racial equality need to be centered in research, policy and practice.
One of the ways heterosexuality maintains its privileged status is through the discursive figure of “the closet,” where everyday speech normalizes heterosexuality while silencing lesbian sexuality. In this paper, feminist and queer theories are used to explain why the closet has featured so prominently in women’s physical education. The paper also contains a poststructural analysis of how the closet was constructed in the life histories of 6 lesbian and heterosexual physical educators. Excerpts from the life histories illustrate how silences inside the closet acquired meaning only in relation to everyday talk about heterosexuality. Finally, deconstruction is used to suggest how heterosexuality can sometimes find itself inside the closet, thereby undermining the boundaries between inside/outside, silence/speech, and lesbian/heterosexual.
Following the research into narrative of scholars such as Laurel Richardson, Carolyn Ellis, and John Van Maanen, I explore the narrative as a way of writing about experiences of sport, specifically of my experiences of identity within high-performance sport. Using the narrative form, I create a space for a variety of my voices to emerge—including both my academic and my athletic voices. Narrative also allows me to show how different stories—stories of gender and racialization—are told, while exploring my identity and how the multiplicity of stories mirrors the hybridity or ambiguity of identity. These stories serve as an illustration of Debra Shogan’s argument that this hybridity of identity disrupts the normalizing project of modern high-performance sport (1999).
The invention of the commercial sports bra in 1977 was a significant advancement for physically active women. Despite its humble origins as an enabling technology, the sports bra has since been invested with new and varied cultural meanings and currencies. In this article I critically read popular representations of sports bras, specifically advertisements and “iconic sports-bra moments” that circulate around Brandi Chastain’s celebration of the U.S. women’s soccer team’s victory in the 1999 World Cup. I argue that such representations sexualize sports bras and the women who wear them. In addition, these representations homogenize and normalize ideals of femininity, which are considered achievable through technologies of disciplined body management, and reproduce the traditional gender order.
Marlene A. Dixon, Stacy M. Warner and Jennifer E. Bruening
This qualitative study uses expectancy-value and life course theories (Giele & Elder, 1998) to examine both the proximal and distal impact of early family socialization on enduring female participation in sport. Seventeen National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I female head coaches from the U.S. participated in interviews regarding parental influence on their sport involvement. Participants revealed three general mechanisms of sport socialization: a) role modeling, b) providing experience, and c) interpreting experience. Parental influence impacted their enduring involvement in sport by normalizing the sport experience, particularly in terms of gender, and by allowing them a voice in their own participation decisions. Insights regarding the roles of both parents and the interactive and contextual nature of socialization for increasing female participation are discussed.
In the practical discourse of sport the focus is on the individual athlete as the autonomous and independent locus of action. This discourse is deconstructed from a, poststructuralist perspective. It is argued that in sport the disciplinary techniques of the body and self, as depicted by Michel Foucault, are both an instrument and an effect of competing. Disciplinary and normalizing practices such as bodily exercises or filling in a training diary are instruments for athletes to transcend their current performance, which is the core of the logic of competing. Furthermore, disciplining is the outcome of this “rationale” to excel. Giddens’s notion of structure is used to explicate the structure of competing. Yet his Cartesian conception of agents as knowledgeable is qualified, that is, within the practices of training and the structure of competing, some consequences of these practices escape athletes’ intention. The constitution of athletes’ subjectivity and even the consequences of the process of competing may be beyond their control.
Theresa A. Walton and Ted M. Butryn
In this article, we examine the complex relationship between whiteness and men’s U.S. distance running. Through a critical examination of over 700 print and electronic sources dealing with distance running in the U.S. from the 1970s through the present, we present evidence that distance running has been framed as a “White space” that is threatened by both external factors (dominance of male international distance-running competition by athletes from African nations) and internal factors (lack of U.S. White male success in conjunction with the success of U.S. citizens of color, born within and outside of the U.S.). We also examine several forms of backlash against these perceived threats, including the media focus on a succession of next White hopes, the rise of U.S. only prize money in road races, and the marginalization of African-born U.S. runners. Our analysis reveals how the media works to normalize whiteness within the larger narrative of U.S. distance running and suggests the need for future work on whiteness and sport.
Heather Sykes and Deborah McPhail
In this article we examine how fat-phobic discourses in physical education both constitute, and are continually negotiated by, “fat” and “overweight” students. This claim is based on qualitative interviews about memories of physical education with 15 adults in Canada and the U.S. who identified as fat or overweight at some time during their lives. The research draws from feminist poststructuralism, queer theory, and feminist fat theory to examine how students negotiate fat subjectivities in fat-phobic educational contexts. The interviews reveal how fat phobia in physical education is oppressive and makes it extremely difficult for most students to develop positive fat subjectivities in physical education; how weighing and measuring practices work to humiliate and discipline fat bodies; and how fat phobia reinforces normalizing constructions of sex and gender. The interviews also illustrate how some students resisted fat phobia in physical education by avoiding, and sometimes excelling in, particular physical activities. Finally, interviewees talk about the importance of having access to fat-positive fitness spaces as adults and suggest ways to improve the teaching of physical education.