The Essence of Sporting Embodiment: Phenomenological Analyses of the Sporting Body

By Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson and John Hockey.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Whilst in recent years the sociology of sport has taken to heart vociferous calls ‘to bring the body back in’ to analyses of sporting activity, the ‘promise of phenomenology’ signalled by Kerry and Armour (2000), remains under-realised with regard to sporting embodiment. Surprisingly, given the focus of study, relatively few accounts are truly grounded in the corporeal realities of the lived, sensuous sporting body. Phenomenology offers us a powerful framework for such analysis and has been adopted and utilised in very different ways by different social science disciplines. The purpose of this paper is to consider how existential phenomenology in particular might be utilised in the study of sport and physical activity, and we draw upon data from a collaborative autoethnographic project on distance running to illustrate this. The use of existential phenomenology and autophenomenography offers, we contend, fresh insights in portraying the ‘essences’, sensuosity, corporeal immediacy and richly-textured experiences of sporting embodiment.

Keywords: Existential Phenomenology, Sporting Embodiment, Merleau-Ponty, Autophenomenography, Autoethnography

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.71-82. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.161MB).

Dr. Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson

Lecturer in Qualitative Research, Qualitative Research Unit, School of Sport & Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, UK

Dr Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson is based in the Qualitative Research Unit in the School of Sport & Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. Her current research interests cohere around the sociology and phenomenology of the sporting body, including the injured body; narratives of intimate partner violence; occupational and 'serious leisure' identities, and identity work among various groups, including injured athletes, contract researchers, research administrators and doctoral students.

Dr. John Hockey

Research Fellow, School of Education, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK

Dr. John Hockey is based in the School of Education at the University of Gloucestershire. His research interests include the sociology and phenomenology of the sporting and physically active body.

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