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Title: Physical activity in later life : a phenomenology of ageing men and women in the Masters Highland Games
Author: Bowness, James
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 2227
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis explores the lived experiences of men and women in the Masters Highland Games sporting community. An embodied focus is taken which looks at how individuals start sporting careers and negotiate the ageing process to maintain participation. Physical activity and sport participation in later life has increasingly been positioned as a remedy for the management of population ageing, a prescription that is often ineffective. Being active is not easy and this research aims to explore the unique contexts that allow for ageing men and women to participate in a sport which challenges normative stereotypes of later life. Drawing upon the theories of Bourdieu and Foucault, this research explores what dispositions are required to maintain a sporting career and what acts of self-discipline are needed to be a Masters athlete. The Highland Games is an event with specific ties to the Scottish Highlands. Therefore, an exploration of sporting national identity will further expand our understandings of the cultural vagaries that contextualise physical activity participation. To comprehend the lives of these individuals, a phenomenological approach was adopted. Using two types of interviews (in-person and e-mail), 19 participants (7 e-mail, 12 in-person) detailed their personal sporting histories through a life- history interview scenario. It emerged that most participants had either transitioned from other sporting practices or first started their sporting careers as Masters athletes. National identity was particularly important to many of the North American participants who had found genealogical links to the Highlands. This link to national identity, and the community of like-minded individuals, created an environment that aided sport participation. Maintaining a sporting career required concerted efforts to manage the body. This was aided by using ‘experts’ who would prescribe physical interventions to help keep the ageing body healthy. Little research has looked at the ways in which older athletes manage bodily injury and pain, as well as the risk cultures that surround their participation. This case study is later used as a critique of physical activity interventions that place emphasis upon individual motivation and fail to comprehend the cultural context of physical activity participation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available