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Title: Emotions and identities in sport : gay pride and shame in competitive rowing
Author: Owen, Gareth.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3461 4850
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis presents a participant observant ethnographic study of a United Kingdom based gay rowing club participating in mainstream competition. A methodological approach called emotional ethnography was developed to facilitate a focus on the emotional significance of sport participation. The study explored the performance of gay male athletic identities in mainstream competitive sport. Eight themes of emotional significance were identified: (i) sociability, (ii) personal achievement, (iii) motility pleasure, (iv) competitiveness, (v) gender performance, (vi) desire & identification, (vii) homophobia, and (viii) political significance. Primary motivations for rowing were generally framed around the sociability of team camaraderie, personal achievement and motility pleasure. The public performance of orthodox competitive masculinity and the partitioning of homoeroticism were considered essential to gaining acceptance in the mainstream rowing community, although privately, the shared ironic understandings of 'camping-it-up' contributed to the enjoyment of gay crew camaraderie. The visibility of gay identified rowers did trouble the heteronormativity of competitive rowing but the possibility of challenging the oppressive structures linked to the patriarchal dominance of sport were limited by the desire to identify with hegemonic athletic masculinity. The political significance of rowing as a gay crew was framed by proving that gay men could row as well as straight men, and the underlying emotional dynamic behind this strategy was the conversion of gay shame to gay pride. The study extends Elias and Dunning's theory of sport as a 'quest for excitement' with the incorporation of Silvan Tomkins's affect theory, to develop a pride-shame based theory of emotions in competitive sport.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available