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The promise of glitching bodies in sport: a posthumanist exploration of an intersex phenomenon
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Forskningsgruppen för pedagogisk idrottsforskning.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0763-2580
2018 (English)In: Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, ISSN 2159-676X, E-ISSN 2159-6778, Vol. 10, no 5, p. 570-584Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper is about glitching bodies - bodies that break, crash and confuse the conventions of pre-programmed and binary gender patterns. Exploring the promise of an intersex phenomenon; hyperandrogenism in women's sport, I discuss how glitching bodies and a feminist posthumanist understanding of gender can contribute to the field of gender and queer sport studies. Responding to calls for research enacting how non-binary bodies challenge the dualistic gendered ontologies that have structured the performative practices of sport in highly exclusive ways this paper is a travelogue into a messy nature-cultural phenomenon. It is partly a theoretical and methodological exploration and partly an analytic endeavour. The phenomenon of hyperandrogenism is explored and untangled by engaging in a diffractive analysis where I 'plug in' the concepts of intra-activity and glitch. I argue that a feminist posthumanist understanding of gender and diffraction as a methodological practice helps us move away from habitual and normative readings that zero in on either male or female, either nature or culture and either material or discursive. This implosion of binaries in turn opens up for alternative ways of thinking and being bodies in sport (studies).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 10, no 5, p. 570-584
Keywords [en]
hyperandrogenism, intersex, posthumanism, post-qualitative inquiry, glitch, intra-activity, gender
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-5375DOI: 10.1080/2159676X.2018.1479980ISI: 000440516600004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-5375DiVA, id: diva2:1239750
Available from: 2018-08-17 Created: 2018-08-17 Last updated: 2019-11-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Glitch i Idrottslandet: en kritiskkreativ undersökning av queeranden inom svensk idrott(svetenskap)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Glitch i Idrottslandet: en kritiskkreativ undersökning av queeranden inom svensk idrott(svetenskap)
2019 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Glitching sport (science) : a criticalcreative inquiry of queerings in Swedish sport (science)
Abstract [en]

The dominant story in critical sports research is that sport is characterised by heteronormativity and hegemonic masculinity norms. These norms are manifested in sexism, homophobia, homonegativity and racism which affect all athletes, regardless of identity. Although important, this is a story that risks reinforcing ideas of how all sport “is”. The thesis is a response to calls from feminist theorists and sport researchers who argue that we need to move away from a logic of negativity built into critical theory and instead put our analytical tools to the task of constructing alternative possible scenarios. The aim of the thesis is to explore what some major strands within contemporary feminist theory can accomplish in relation to dominating stories about gender, sexuality and scientific knowledge production in sport research. More specifically, I explore how the concepts of figuration and intra-action can open up for other possible sport (science) worlds.

The thesis consists of a frame-story and four articles, which in turn are based on three substudies. In the first substudy I interviewed boys and men who engage with horses and in horse riding. By engaging in a sport, equestrianism, that in Sweden is dominated by girls/women and female coded, they transgress and challenge – glitch – ideas of how Real sports boys/men should be, live and act. The interview stories from this study are enacted in various ways in article I and IV. In the second substudy I interviewed elite athletes with experiences of living non-straight and who in that way glitch heteronormativity in sports (sometimes also homonormativity). These stories make up the heart of the figurations presented in article II. In the third substudy, I explored athletic bodies that, due to intersex variations, glitch the idea that the only way of being a body (in sport) is to be male or female. This analysis is presented in article III.

The thesis is populated by horseguys who challenge stereotypical masculinity norms, sporting contexts that turn heteronormativity up-side-down and inside-out, athletic bodies that implode binary gender and a researcher I glitching a scientific (writing) genre. The figurations presented in the thesis open up for queering elsewheres, where engaging in sport can serve as a condition of possibility for same-sex attractions/relations and non-normative ways of being a boy/man, and where creative writing – in the form of fiction, poetry and genre mixing – can be used as a method of inquiry.

Through the concept of intra-action, the thesis also makes visible that “matter matters”. Firstly, I show how engaging materially with horses allow and encourage boys/men to be less constrained by dominant gender norms – in other words, that human-horse relations are entangled with, and affect, boys’ and men’s doing of gender. Secondly, I make visible how athletic bodies “strike back” in relation to ideas of binary gender, glitching a dominant medico-scientific story (in sport) telling us that the only way of being a body is to be male or female. Thirdly, I enact – in form and content – how the researcher is always already entangled in scientific knowledge production.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH, 2019. p. 107
Series
Avhandlingsserie för Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan ; 16
Keywords
sport, gender, sex, heteronormativity, queer, glitch, figuration, intra-activity, feminist posthumanism, creative analytical writing, equestrianism, intersex, idrott, könsnormer, heteronormativitet, queera, glitch, figuration, intra-aktion, feministisk posthumanism, kreativt analytisk skrivande, ridsport, intersex
National Category
Gender Studies Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-5907 (URN)978-91-983151-7-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-12-13, Aulan, Lidingövägen 1, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-11-11 Created: 2019-11-11 Last updated: 2019-12-02Bibliographically approved

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