“I Just Want to Be Left Alone”: Novel Sociological Insights Into Dramaturgical Demands on Professional Athletes

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Durham University
  • 2 University of Lincoln
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To date, no sociological studies of professional athletes have investigated the lived experiences of sportspeople in highly publicly visible occupations that provide relatively few opportunities for backstage relaxation from role demands. Drawing on findings from a British Academy-funded project examining high-profile sports workers and employing Goffman’s dramaturgical insights, this article provides a novel examination of high-profile athletes who work in highly publicly visible contexts. This working context can render them “open” persons in interactional situations. To explore this sociologically significant occupational domain, interviews were conducted with 26 U.K.-based professional athletes (females and males) from seven different sports. For these athletes, dramaturgical demands were found to be relentless and unremitting, as backstage regions proved so challenging to access.

Roderick is with the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom. Allen-Collinson is with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, United Kingdom.

Address author correspondence to Martin Roderick at m.j.roderick@durham.ac.uk.
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