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Title: Exploring gender in British equestrian sport
Author: Dashper, Katherine L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 7124
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2010
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Sport occupies a visible position within popular culture and appears to offer clear 'proof' of the differences between men and women. The segregation of sport along binary sex/gender lines reinforces commonsense belief in the 'naturalness' of such binary categories and renders all those who cannot be classified easily within such terms of reference culturally unintelligible, and thus excludes them from the practice of organised sport. This study explored the only Olympic-level sport which is not organised around segregation along binary sex/gender lines - equestrian sport - in order to consider the implications of abandoning such a restrictive, hierarchical framework. Drawing on the theories of Judith Butler, this study explored both the productive potential and the limitations of abandoning sex/gender binarism as a core organising principle within equestrian sport, and the potential this offers for expanding the terms of recognition and intelligibility to make sport a more open and inclusive practice. Thirty-three individual interviews with competitive riders, three focus groups and participant observation within the equestrian social world were employed to explore these issues. This study suggests that normative gender ideals have a pervasive influence on individual identities and subjectivities within equestrian sport subculture, but also indicates ways in which these norms can be destabilised and troubled. Although the possibility for subversion and transformation of gender norms is limited, the example of equestrian sport presented in this study suggests that abandoning the restrictive binary framework of sex/gender that characterises most sports may be an important first step in challenging gender norms and opening up sport to be more inclusive and welcoming to those currently excluded and devalued
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available