Resisting the canon: Feminist cultural studies, sport, and technologies of the body

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In this paper, I argue that contemporary critical theories as well as shifts in culture have produced a crisis in sport studies by displacing and challenging the “object of knowledge” as it has been traditionally understood by the field. From a feminist standpoint, I initiate one response to this “crisis” by proposing a theoretical apparatus generated at the intersection of socialist-feminist theory, British cultural studies, and the work of Michel Foucault - feminist cultural studies. Following an overview of these positions, I examine several issues raised by this framework in an effort to decipher the relation between technologies of gender, “sport,” and everyday bodybuilding and their tendencies to normalize bodies and identities that work to undermine the development of a community and oppositional politics. I consider the matrix of bodily-surveillance technologies legitimated through sport, how they have been used to probe “suspicious” bodies for impurities, and their implications for women in age dominated by new reproductive technologies and the “logic of epidemic.” Finally, I briefly discuss the consequences of the Human Genome project (in terms of gender and race) and the issues it poses in terms of its neo-eugenic potential. In conclusion, I suggest a series of questions that might serve as the structuring impulse for the study of sport, understood as a discursive category and a dispersed set of knowledges and practices that structure our everyday lived experiences (bodies/identities, pleasures, and struggles).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-97
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Sport & Social Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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