Running Crip: From Ashamed Spaz to Accepted Athlete and Toward Activism on the Politic Margin In this paper I will explore through a phenomenological ethnographic lens how the act of running in the abnormal fashion of a spaz can shape perception of an athlete's ability regardless of performance. Drawing upon the practice theory of Pierre Bourdieu (1977, 1990) and the phenomenological position of 'being in the world' triumphed by Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1962, 1965) that together help us understand embodied difference this paper highlights how an abnormal imperfect sensuous running body can be a vessel for gathering ethnographic data on the queerness of the social world. Starting with a vignette the paper questions both compulsory able-bodiedness (McRuer, 2006) and the discipline of normality (Wendell, 1996) that in harmony facilitate reflection upon the position of subaltern moving bodies of a spaz in the context of running specifically but sport more generally. The hope is that the discussion generated will go some way towards helping us celebrate difference in movement practices as well as policies. P4: Blake MacMillan, Carleton University and Chantal Fowler, Independent Scholar
Cripping Sport with Red Bull Red Bull's marketing strategy centers on the promotion of extreme sports and athletes. The brand is synonymous with practices and people that are remapping the terrain of possibilities in and of sport. Consequently, the company's branding activities are producing more than a market for sugary drinks but also a conceptual shift regarding sport. Following Red Bull, sport is less a test of physical ability, a rule-based competition, and highly rehearsed performance and more a mash-up of various technical and somatic forms of expertise, an open-ended experiment and a curatorial production. In our view, Red Bull and parasport are pushing sport in similar directions. They both underscore innovation in sport rather than athletic propensity. Drawing on theories and methods from disability and feminist science studies, this paper weaves together sociological and ethnographic accounts of both Red Bull and parasport, identifying their congruencies, connections and divergences.
Session Title: FROM PIXELATED PRAXIS TO INTELLECTUAL ACTIVISM
Presiders: Ryan King-White, Towson University and Amber Wiest, Florida State University
Note: FULL/4 Session Abstract:
This session asks the broad question to Physical Cultural Studies practitioners to demonstrate how they have taken up the statement how do/have/will "you be the change you want to see in the world?" Put simply, and following Carrington's (2012) critique of PCS we write papers that "drip with revolutionary character," but those of us writing in this vein rarely get our hands dirty, bleed, symbolically and physically, with others and actually effectuate social justice. This research (and our continual critique of it) can further help our activist selves become more precise and impactful to the communities we are working with, the lives we hope to better understand, and, thus, the people we claim to care for in and through our work. In so doing, we welcome those contributions committed to engaging in productive conversation and collective critique to take us somewhere new and "somewhere better" (Grossberg, 1997, p. 341). Participants: P1: Jacob J. Bustad, University of Maryland
Flattening the City: Urban Assemblage and the "Body Multiple" The interrelated fields of cultural studies and urban studies have both recently evinced an ongoing shift in both methodology and focus, and this presentation links this broader move with my own attempts to look beyond state and institutional actors and the processes of ideology and discourse bound with these actors, and towards the "non-representational" (Thrift, 2008) individual and collective spaces, forms and practices which comprise urban lived experience. This entails a move from conceptualizing the 'urban' and/or 'city' as a unitary or bifurcated object, and towards conceiving and experiencing the city as a "multiple object" (Farias 2010). Here the city and the body become linked as "multiple," "ontological achievements" rather than as stable binaries; this multiplicity signals a broader move away from the primacy of epistemological concerns and theories and towards an ontologically-prioritized research paradigm. That is, my project follows Mol's (2002) argument concerning the "body multiple" and extends this to the "city multiple" -- wherein an object such as a body/city is "enacted at different moments and sites’ not to be understood epistemologically as different perspectives on the object, but ontologically, acknowledging that different realities are being enacted here and there, now and then" (Farias 2010, 13). Thus following Latour (2005) and Amin and Thrift (2002), this presentation shows that the approach of a "topological" ontology and the use of ethnomethodology can provide a nuanced engagement with the assembling of public recreation in Baltimore. By evading and extending beyond the unitary or binary, objective or subjective, and structural or agential conceptions of the body and the city, this project has the potential to break new ground. P2: Amber L. Wiest, Florida State University
"Where Have all the (Public) Intellectuals Gone?" Contemplating Praxis and Intervention in (and through?) Academia Grant Jarvie asserts that "in the age of the knowledge economy we have somehow managed to combine the widest ever participation in higher education with a reduced participation of the intellectual in public life" (2009, p. 13). This is troubling in a moment when corporate precedence perpetually substitutes for public interests and academics are continually nudged into narrowing spaces of specialized niches’ often fleeing from public engagement. Importantly, and not necessarily due to lack of interest or compassion, this plight can be repeatedly ascribed to the demands placed on tenure track faculty (and graduate students!) to secure positions as grant-producing service providers (McClennan, 2010). Thus, with these concerns, the purpose of this paper is to explore how we “as students, as mentors, as faculty, as administrators, as critical pedagogues, as sensitive collaborators” can (re)connect higher education to projects that encourage the role of the academic in public life. Specifically, I share my experiences working with a non-profit youth development organization, Girls on the Run, and analyze the often messy (and conflicting) ways we enter, participate in, and position ourselves (with)in our research “sites” not to overlook how and when we leave these organizations and communities. This is not just a question of how we "do research", but more importantly, what the purpose is of our research: How do we work towards (re)imagining ways to go about performing praxis committed to involving our (embodied and reflective) selves in various ‘context’ and in careful ‘ways’ to enact meaningful social change? P3: Kyle Bunds, Florida State University
On the Messiness of Activism from the Inside: Global Water Charities, Organizational Ethnography, and the Politics of Change This presentation is part of a larger project on global water charities that spans multiple countries, constituencies, and subjectivities, a project in which I examine and critique water charities that exist for the purpose of raising funds to provide clean drinking water to those in developing countries, and who do so in many cases through the use of sport. Initially, I planned on aggressively critiquing these water charities, which per their promotional documents supposedly act on behalf of those who have been failed by governmental and corporate negligence from the outside. Goodall (1988) reminds us, however, that such organizational analyses cannot be done from the outside; rather, they must be done from the inside, as one of "them", in order to levy both honest critique and propose realistic solutions. As such, I traverse the messiness of doing something, finding myself not merely as an observer of four international water agencies in three different countries, but as an active fundraiser, co-conspirator, and employee for them. In so doing, I offer an argument for the importance of activism from the inside, heeding the call of Goodall (1988), Giardina and Newman (2011) and Carrington (2012) for critical scholars to get their hands dirty, to get out from behind our desks and do something about that which we are critiquing. P4: William Dyer, St. Mary's College and Ryan King-White, Towson University
Tell the Captain the Boat's Not Safe and We're Drowning (turns out he's the one making waves): The Curious Case of Towson University Baseball PCS scholars have long called for progressive intervention within the field (cf. Andrews & Giardina, 2008; Denzin & Giardina, 2013). As I (Ryan) have outlined elsewhere (2012) though this has taken place in the broad Sociology of Sport field those espousing this argument within PCS have been a little slow in the activist uptake. As such, this presentation will hopefully serve both as an empirical call-to-arms, and a prime example of how such activism "looks" by delineating exactly how a PCS scholar, with the help of other committed activists, have tenuously helped save Towson University baseball throughout the course of the 2012-2013 academic year. More specifically, we will discuss how difficult such activism is to partake in as non-tenured faculty and family members, and the careful choices that were made to realize this relatively unprecedented achievement. We also aim to outline that although the pathway toward 'saving' the baseball team seems bright there is still much work to be done. Finally, this presentation endeavors to encourage others within PCS to do the same within their theoretical and empirical foci.
Session Title: Globalization or Americanization? An Exploratory Case Study of
Presiders: B. Nalani Butler, University of Tennessee; Rosalind P. Harris, University of Kentucky and Lars Dzikus, University of Tennessee
Note: FULL/3 Participants: P1: B. Nalani Butler, University of Tennessee, Rosalind P. Harris, University of Kentucky, and Lars Dzikus, University of Tennessee
Globalization or Americanization? An Exploratory Case Study of European Men's Professional Basketball This presentation will be on a study that examined the migration of American men's basketball players to European professional club teams and how the migration of American basketball players has impacted European men's professional basketball. An exploratory case study methodology was employed in which a purposive sample of both American and European professional basketball players from one team were interviewed about their experiences playing professional basketball in Europe. A total of 12 (six American and six European) professional basketball players who played in the 2012-2013 basketball season participated in this study on sport labor migration. This qualitative study employed a multi-layered approach in which semi-structured interviews, observations, and document analyses were used to understand the impact of American basketball players on European men's professional basketball. Both American and European players answered questions pertaining to their experiences playing in a culturally diverse setting, view of national identity, and view of sporting identity. Maguire's (1999) typology of sport labor migration was used as a framework for understanding recent trends in sport labor migration. P2: Cole G. Armstrong, Florida State University
The NHL's New Economic Reality? Labor Migration, the KHL, and Ilya Kovalchuk In this presentation, I examine the migratory labor patterns and practices of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) as read through a case study of former New Jersey Devils hockey star Ilya Kovalchuk. Briefly stated, Kovalchuk, a Russian player who was the face of the Devils franchise, retired at 30-years-of-age from the National Hockey League (NHL) on July 11, 2013, only three years into his ten-year, $100-million contract with the Devils. Almost immediately thereafter, however, he signed a 4-year, $60 million contract with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. North American media reports condemned Kovalchuk's decision while also drawing into question the labor practices of the KHL. Drawing from the work of Joe Maguire, Toby Miller and Richard Elliot, I will examine the mediated backlash to Kovalchuk's move and the (potential) existential "threat" the KHL poses to future NHL labor/contract negotiations. At the same time, I confront the personal biases I seem to hold against 'Russian' players myself. Having grown up in Saskatchewan, Canada during the halcyon days of international hockey competitions (i.e., 1980s/1990s), I self-reflexively interrogate how my hockey thinking/viewing has for much of my life been fostered with a mix of Canadian nationalism and Don Cherry-istic anti-European sentiment. P3: Jamel E. Lavine, George Mason University and R. Pierre Rodgers, George
The Woeful Wizards: Examining the Cultural Values of Winning and Losing for the NBA's Washington Wizards The Washington Wizards are one of multiple franchises to have won a championship in the National Basketball Association (NBA). This happened in 1978. Since then, the franchise has been recognized more for its penchant to lose, falter, and underperform. The Wizards have compiled seasons of losing records with the occasional glimmer of hope that the upcoming season will be markedly different from previous one. In this preliminary analysis, we offer possible explanations as to why the franchise has been among the worst performing in the NBA when there are ample opportunities to improve via the NBA Draft, free agency, or off season player development. Employing rhetorical ideological criticism, we analyze sportswriters' discourse from the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post newspapers to discern recurring value-based themes that highlight the franchise's missed opportunities. Borrowing from the work of Trujillo and Ekdom (1985), we hope to examine cultural and sociological aspects of themes as reflected in the articles written by local sportswriters of the Wizards in selected columns.
Session Title: He did it, the 'Fallen Heroes' of Nike: Tiger Woods, Oscar Pistorius,
and Lance Armstrong
Session Type:Paper presentation session
Organizers: Stephanie J. Cork, University of Maryland, College Park and Rob Beamish, Queen's University
Presider: Needed Session Abstract:
As an internationally recognized brand Nike is a dominant and dominating fixture in the American Sporting Industrial Complex. Nike strives to present the athletes in its stable of media symbols as more than just successful; they embody the highest values of sport and sportsmanship -- dedication, purity, selflessness, humility, and respect for the spirit of sport. Three athletes have served Nike and its image makers better than any others: Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius. Each of these men have at one time been seen as "heroic" in some sense, with bodies that fought overwhelming odds and willed their way to the top of the sporting world. But the success of each of these athletes has come at tremendous personal costs and their flaws -- alleged and otherwise -- made each instantly disposable and disposed. This panel examines the heroic narratives that have constructed each of these athletes as Nike icons, the narratives that vilified them, and those that could reframe them but remain, and will most likely remain, marginalized under the weight of the dominant discourses of sport and "America's values." Participants: P1: Rob Beamish Department of Sociology Queen's University Kingston, ON
"He Did it! Seven Consecutive Tour Victories and So Much More!" No body better embodies the contradictions which Foucault identifies between legitimized power based on sovereignty, right, and juridical rule versus that of the disciplinary society, than Lance Armstrong. This paper begins by drawing upon Foucault's work, developed most overtly in Society Must Be Defended, to outline the discourse of sovereignty, right, and juridical rule and how that discourse serves to legitimate certain centralized, international sport organizations' discourse on truth and right in sport. The paper then examines how the practices and technologies of power within the discourse of disciplinary society generate discourses and knowledges at the local level that conform to and conflict with the dominant sport discourse, are marginalized and suppressed by that discourse and the predominant international sport organizations but flourish nonetheless and continually challenge the dominant sport discourse. Keywords: sport, Foucault, Lance Armstrong, power. P2: Stephanie J. Cork, University of Maryland, College Park
dig dat oke (love that guy): Transgressions and Boundaries Under fire in a trial by media the "Greek Tragedy" of Oscar Pistorius exemplifies the fallen hero trope. Once the poster boy of South Africa showcasing vindication through the realm of sport, Pistorius' contested body is now demonstrative of a conflicted and violent culture in South Africa. There is no shortage of coverage on this good boy gone bad, and the scrutiny paid to the events that took place earlier this year showcase the fascination the public has with his tribulations. Nike quickly responded though pulling Pistorius from their campaigns and distancing themselves from the now tarnished image of the athlete, "I am the bullet in the chamber." This in no way however, diminishes what this body has done to transgress the boundaries between able-bodied and disability sport, and though character is seen as central to the sporting body, this space should be deconstructed, to reveal the societal stressors that are placed on the sporting hero. Further, willful blindness/suspension of disbelief was required by the Nike brand, whitewashing over an individual who had a history of domestic violence and participated willingly in the gun culture in SA. Overall, this presentation looks to not diminish the "Paralympic hero" but instead confront the Sporting Industrial Complex that leads to such extraordinary expectations and the fallout and media outrage that occurs when unattainable ideals are not met. Keywords: Paralympics, South Africa, disability, Oscar Pistorius, Nike, branding, hero. P3: Steven R. Thomsen, Brigham Young University and Harper Anderson, Brigham Young University
Using the Rhetoric of Atonement to Analyze Lance Armstrong's Failed Attempt at Redeeming His Public Image In October 2012, former seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong was stripped of his victories and banned from professional cycling after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) reported that he had lied about secretly using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. This essay analyzes the apologetic and atonement strategies employed by Armstrong during a two-part television interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013. Our analysis uses the framework of Benoit's (1995) Theory of Image Restoration Discourse, Koesten and Rowland's (2004) discussion on atonement rhetoric, and Shepard's (2009) Theory of Simulated Atonement. In this essay, we argue that Armstrong's attempts at mortification were undermined by his continued evasion of responsibility and his failure to outline a corrective course of action. Throughout the interview, Armstrong refused to describe his behavior as cheating and repeated past claims that he was merely a victim of the doping culture in professional cycling. We conclude that this failure to provide an authentic rhetorical atonement prevented him from redeeming himself among media and fans, as indicated by an examination of post-interview media antapologia. This paper raises issues about the ethics of self-defense strategies used by professional athletes caught in highly publicized controversies.
Session Title: Internalization and Coaching Diversity in the U. S. Intercollegiate
Session Type:Paper Presentations
Organizers: Dr. Rose Chepyator-Thomson, University of Georgia
Internalization has been a defining characteristic of the 21st century. People galore move from one nation to another or from one region to another based on immitigable circumstances such as unemployment, political unrest or cultural upheavals, creating forced or unforced migration, and often become refugees, workers in the labor force or as sports labor in foreign lands. Players migrate to join sport leagues or join National Intercollegiate Athletics as scholar athletes in the United States. Intercollegiate sport in the United States represents the highest form of sport participation for many athletes (Popp, Hums, & Greenwell, 2009), with foreign athletes greatly contributing to the culture of the intercollegiate athletics (Roth, 2013). According to NCAA, there is a growing increase of international athletes in U.S. intercollegiate athletics, with about 70% of international athletes being in Division I athletics (NCAA, 2008; Popp, Hums & Greenwell, 2009). International athletes come to participate mostly in tennis, track and field, soccer, swimming, basketball, and golf (NCAA, 2006). The purpose of this session is to examine the impact of foreign sport labor and diversity on U. S. intercollegiate athletics, focusing on sport management, coaching and scholar-athletes, among other areas of examination that include race and gender diversity. Participants: P1: Kipchumba Byron and Jepkorir Rose Chepyator-Thomson, University of Georgia
Scholar-Athletes and Coaches in NCAA Division I Athletics: A focus on Track and Field The United States' National Intercollegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) is a unique global institution. Intercollegiate track and field competitions have become a global spectacle in NCAA national championships. Over the last 30 years international recruitment of skilled athletes worldwide has increased. The purpose of this study was to examine international and national diversity in terms of coaches and athletes in Track and Field in NCAA Division I Athletics. The findings center on the following themes: (a) Coaches follow an interstate recruitment model, where scholar-athletes become constant participants in the U.S. athletic landscape; (b) coaches also follow an international recruitment model, where foreign scholar-athletes feature in national intercollegiate athletic competitions, and they represent primarily SEC schools; (c) majority of coaches are Caucasian and male. The findings of the study will be discussed along the following concepts: (a) inter-school rivalry within states to try and understand the dominance in national championships among the selected schools and conferences, (b) coach survival syndrome, where coaches resort to tactical recruitment in order to improve performances to remain in the coaching roster, (c) the impact of scholarships and foreign athletes on track and field competitions, and (d) the perception "superiority" in track and field.