me. It reflected my concern prioritizing (not denying, negating, or ignoring) the details of the workout—discipline’s techniques and instruments—that I now recognize, based on thinking with Foucault ( 1995 ), could have been serving to compromise the very KPI I wanted this workout to achieve. I
Lauren Downham and Christopher Cushion
of reflection with coach developers in a high-performance coach education program. The significance of the work, then, was as Foucault ( 1996 ) asserted “to reveal relations of power . . . to put them back into the hands of those who exercise them” (p. 144). Therefore, we undertook a critical
Jim Denison, Richard Pringle, Tania Cassidy, and Paul Hessian
Progress and improvement in sport is often the result of some type of change. However, change for change sake is not always beneficial. Therefore, to be an effective ‘change agent’ a coach must be able to problematize his or her actions and assess why or why not a change might be needed. Accordingly, helping coaches become active problematizers is vital to the change process. Toward this end, we present in this paper our reflections as coach developers and coaches who considered how to apply Michel Foucault’s understanding of ethics to make self-change a positive force for enhancing athletes’ experiences. We then conclude by suggesting how coach developers might begin to incorporate Foucault’s work into the development of coaches capable of producing change that matters.
David L. Andrews
This paper focuses on the theoretical and substantive innovations developed by Michel Foucault, and specifically his understanding of the disciplined nature of bodily existence. Foucault’s understanding of the human body is then linked to the critical discourse within sport sociology. This illustrates how his research has been appropriated by critical scholars in the past and briefly outlines how his work could be used to develop innovative research agendas. The paper concludes by putting the onus on the critical element within sport sociology to confront poststructuralist and postmodernist theorizing, such as Foucault’s genealogy. This is the only way to ensure the intellectual development of a critical, and legitimate, sport sociology.
Thomas F. Corrigan, Jamie Paton, Erin Holt, and Marie Hardin
Using Foucault’s ideas about discourse and the body, this study explores coverage of Oscar Pistorius’s quest to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics. The authors used textual analysis of coverage in The New York Times and Time magazine, two popular and influential general-interest U.S. publications, to interrogate fairness as the primary rationale in discourse about Pistorius. Journalists also privileged a medical view of disability, used descriptions of prosthetics to reflect cultural assumptions about “normal” bodies, and reinforced fear of the “cyborg.” Media discourses around Pistorius, as contested sites for meanings inscribed on the body, reinforced the body hierarchy and positioned progress for athletes with disabilities as threatening to the institution of sport and its values. The authors suggest alternative discursive strategies, such as those that question the Paralympic/Olympic divide or focus on the rights of athletes with disabilities to compete, as ways to radically challenge the exercise of biopower reinforcing the status quo.
This article explores the application of Michel Foucault’s technologies of the self—practices of freedom that are characterized by ethics of self-care, critical awareness, and aesthetic self-stylization. Foucault’s argument states that the technologies of self can act as practices of freedom from disciplinary, discursive body practices. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this study examines the intersections of Foucault’s theory with commercial fitness practices to identify possibilities for changing the dominant, feminine body discourse. The focus is on fitness practices collectively defined as mindful fitness and specifically one hybrid mindfulfitness form that combines Pilates, yoga, and Tai Chi with western strength training. Through in-depth interviews with the instructors of this hybrid form, this study analyzes the possibilities for mindful fitness to act as a practice of freedom by detailing what can be meant by critically aware, self-stylized fitness professionals for whom ethical care of the self translates to ethical care of the others.
Zoe Avner, Pirkko Markula, and Jim Denison
Drawing on a modified version of Foucault’s (1972) analysis of discursive formations, we selected key coach education texts in Canada to examine what discourses currently shape effective coaching in Canada in order to detect what choices Canadian coaches have to know about “being an effective coach.” We then compared the most salient aspects of our reading to the International Sport Coaching Framework. Our Foucauldian reading of the two Canadian coach education websites showed that the present set of choices for coaches to practice “effectively” is narrow and that correspondingly the potential for change and innovation is limited in scope. Our comparison with the International Sport Coaching Framework, however, showed more promise as we found that its focus on the development of coach competences allowed for different coaching knowledges and coaching aims than a narrow focus on performance and results. We then conclude this Insights Paper by offering some comments on the implications of our Foucauldian reading as well as some suggestions to address our concerns about the dominance of certain knowledges and the various effects of this dominance for athletes, coaches, coach development and the coaching profession at large.
Clayton R. Kuklick and Brian T. Gearity
Foucault’s ( 1977 ) concepts of power-knowledge and technologies of discipline have been used to show how dominant and purported rational and effective coaching practices objectify, normalize, control, and survey athletes through various disciplinary techniques and approaches ( Denison, 2007
Following Michel Foucault, feminist sport scholars have demonstrated how women’s physical activity can act as a technology of domination that anchors women into a discoursive web of normalizing practices. There has been less emphasis on Foucault’s later work that focuses on the individual’s role of changing the practices of domination. Foucault argues that human beings turn themselves into subjects through what he labels “the technologies of the self.” While his work is not gender specific, some feminists have seen the technologies of the self as a possibility to reconceptualize the self, agency and resistance in feminist theory and politics. In this paper, I aim to examine what Foucault’s technologies of self can offer feminists in sport studies. I begin by reviewing applications of Foucault’s technology of the self to analyses of women’s physical activity. I will next locate the technologies of the self within Foucault’s theory of power, self and ethics to further reflect how valuable this concept can be for feminist sport studies.
Geneviève Rail and Jean Harvey
This paper is an introduction to the topic of Michel Foucault and the sociology of sport. First, we discuss the concepts used in the works of Foucault that have had the greatest impact in sociology of sport. Second, we present a brief review of the important articles in sociology of sport that have been inspired by Foucault’s approach. This exercise allows us to provide indices of the influence of the Foucauldian perspective on the sociology of sport: directly, by allowing us to situate the body at the center of research questions, or indirectly, in the context of the development and use of contemporary social theories.