Moving Beyond Coercion Versus Care Using Situational Irony to Analyse the use of Surveillance Technologies in an Elite Football Academy.

Luke Jones, Lee Nelson, Ryan Groom, William Taylor, Paul Potrac

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


As a result of their increasing affordability and applicability, surveillance technologies are now in widespread use across the workplaces of field sports. In an example of this, ubiquitous monitoring is now an established part of the elite football academy context. Elite players are tracked by GPS, recorded on video and have their physiological outputs recorded as a matter of routine. Clearly, the elite football space is one where the conditions for a regime of surveillance are ripe. It is therefore un-surprising that the surveillance mechanisms mentioned are now heavily integrated into the everyday life of both professional and academy players. Surveillance technologies then, would appear to be playing an important and increasingly normalised and accepted role in enhancing athlete movement and performance proficiency – particularly within the field sports workplace setting (Aughey, 2011). In recent years, there has been increasing scholarly debate concerning the application of surveillance technologies in high performance sport settings. While some researchers (e.g. Williams & Manley, 2016) have highlighted their problematic and constraining impacts, others (e.g. Collins et al., 2015) have emphasised the clear performance and learning benefits that they provide. In this paper, we attempted to move beyond a binary stance that reduces the effects of surveillance technologies in sports settings to being either beneficial or, instead, limiting. In so doing, we utilised Sewell and Barker’s (2006) ‘ironic’ framework as our theoretical lens. Their writing specifically considers how, paradoxically, the parallel discursive formations of care and coercion act simultaneously to shape individual’s perceptions in relation to the application of surveillance technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContext and contingency: Research in sport coaching pedagogy.
EditorsC Crosby, C Edwards
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Aug 2018


  • Coaching
  • Surveillance Technologies
  • Soccer


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