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Community and identity in an LGBT softball league: constitution, practice, negotiation, and problematization

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This study situated a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) softball league within the logic of homonormativity and queer futurity and explored how community and identity were constituted, practiced, negotiated,

This study situated a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) softball league within the logic of homonormativity and queer futurity and explored how community and identity were constituted, practiced, negotiated, and problematized. The project endeavored to address the questions: What is the meaning and significance of community for the League participants? To what extent and how does participation in the League affect gender and sexual identity discourse and practice? And, in the context of the League, how are dominant ideologies and power structures reinforced, disrupted, and produced? A critical ethnography was undertaken to render lives, relations, structures, and alternative possibilities visible. Data was collected through participant observation, interviews, open-ended questionnaires, and archival document analysis. A three stage process was employed for data transformation including description, analysis, and interpretation. LGBT identified sports clubs, formed as a result of identity politics, are understood to be potential sites of transformation and/or assimilation. Although the League was imbued with the discourses of inclusion and acceptance, the valorizing of competition and normalization led to the creation of hierarchies and a politics of exclusion. The League as an identity-based community was defined by what it was not, by what it lacked, by its constitutive outside. It is possible to learn a great deal about community by looking at what and who is left out and the conspicuous absence of transgender and bisexual participants in the League highlights a form of closure, a limit to the transformative potential of the League.

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  • 2015

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Memorable messages in professional female athletes

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The present study explored memorable messages that professional female athletes have recalled throughout their careers. This study sought to understand what types of memorable messages are recalled by female athletes

The present study explored memorable messages that professional female athletes have recalled throughout their careers. This study sought to understand what types of memorable messages are recalled by female athletes that have made it to the top of their sports at the professional level and to understand whether the recalled memorable messages were gendered or not. Respondents were asked via a survey questionnaire to recall a memorable message, describe the meaning and context of the message and finally what effect, if any, the message had on them. Qualitative survey questionnaire responses were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results indicated that memorable messages were not gendered in any way but there were several relevant themes, which included: wisdom, performance, instruction, motivation, dedication and identity. These results are new to the field of memorable messages within the field of sport and hold significance for future research.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Hanging in the balance: gendered identity in elite sport

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ABSTRACT

Elite experience and careers in judged female sports complicate the binary categories of retirement while they are especially exposed to cultures of abuse, pressure and subjectivity. This thesis is comprised

ABSTRACT

Elite experience and careers in judged female sports complicate the binary categories of retirement while they are especially exposed to cultures of abuse, pressure and subjectivity. This thesis is comprised of multiple voices and experiences from the elite female athletic perspective, including my autoethnographic narrative. Highlighted and discussed are the topics of sexual assault and abuse, family pressure on children to do and excel at sport, the National Team experience representing the United States and subjected bodies and judging. It is an aim of this thesis to culminate all of those factors in the final chapter and hold that the experience and the cultures of athletic identity within synchronized swimming, gymnastics and figure skating not only cannot be explained by current research on athletic identity through retirement but have the capability to retire undeveloped young women by overdeveloped athletic identities. Through a sampling of voices and experiences across different female judged sports, over three decades, the reader will observe similarities that cause these sports to have a culture of solidarity through the aspects they hold in common with each other. The narrative highlights pivotal moments in the lives of the elite female athlete within these sports, which add to the calculation of their athletic identities and the lack of their personal identities. Through reflection and analyses of not only my story, but the interviewees from my original research and that of Joan Ryan’s as well, I aim to voice a mutual experience of elite athletes. Consisting of multiple factors throughout many years we will see through my autoethnography, paralleling with other voices and experiences, how it all intersects and contributes to this: Who am I now and where do I go from here?

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  • 2019