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TY - JOUR
T1 - Surveillance and conformity in competitive youth swimming
AU - Lang, Melanie
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PY - 2010
Y1 - 2010
N2 - Underpinned by a Foucauldian analysis of sporting practices, this paper identifies the disciplinary mechanism of surveillance at work in competitive youth swimming. It highlights the ways in which swimmers and their coaches are subject to and apply this mechanism to produce embodied conformity to normative behaviour and obedient, docile bodies. The data were drawn from a wider ethnographic study of 17 competitive squads and 13 coaches at three competitive swimming clubs in England. Data from participant observations of squad training sessions and semi-structured interviews with swimming coaches indicate that the pressure of being under constant surveillance leads athletes to submit to intensive training protocols and coaches to perform according to norms dictated by discourses of child safety. For athletes, submitting to these normalised training protocols increases risk of short and long-term injury and psychological harm. Meanwhile, working in a climate where discourses of child safety position every act of child�adult touch as suspicious leaves coaches feeling resentful, angry and constrained and denies them and their swimmers one of the most fulfilling, rewarding relationships available: that between a coach and an athlete.
AB - Underpinned by a Foucauldian analysis of sporting practices, this paper identifies the disciplinary mechanism of surveillance at work in competitive youth swimming. It highlights the ways in which swimmers and their coaches are subject to and apply this mechanism to produce embodied conformity to normative behaviour and obedient, docile bodies. The data were drawn from a wider ethnographic study of 17 competitive squads and 13 coaches at three competitive swimming clubs in England. Data from participant observations of squad training sessions and semi-structured interviews with swimming coaches indicate that the pressure of being under constant surveillance leads athletes to submit to intensive training protocols and coaches to perform according to norms dictated by discourses of child safety. For athletes, submitting to these normalised training protocols increases risk of short and long-term injury and psychological harm. Meanwhile, working in a climate where discourses of child safety position every act of child�adult touch as suspicious leaves coaches feeling resentful, angry and constrained and denies them and their swimmers one of the most fulfilling, rewarding relationships available: that between a coach and an athlete.
U2 - 10.1080/13573320903461152
DO - 10.1080/13573320903461152
M3 - Article
VL - 15
SP - 19
EP - 37
JO - Sport, Education and Society
JF - Sport, Education and Society
SN - 1357-3322
IS - 1