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Title: This is Men's Derby : identity, belonging, and community in Men's Roller Derby
Author: Fletcher, Dawn
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 2531
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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The emerging sport of roller derby was initially conceived as an inclusive, DIY/'alternative' sport. Tensions exist around the competing desires to retain this focus, but also to become commercially viable and professional. Existing research positions roller derby as women-only and interprets the sport as a space for identity and gender expression. Offering an insider account, I develop an ethnographic case study of a men's roller derby team. Through data gathered during a year-long participant observation and sixteen in-depth interviews, I examine the relationship between identity, belonging, and community in the development of a specific, localised roller derby culture. Underpinned by an interest in the realisation of gendered identifications, this thesis explores the interdependence of inclusivity and exclusivity, performance and professionalism, and self-image and public image. It also considers those more prosaic tensions of 'doing' roller derby that exist between playing and officiating, ethos and administration, and continuation and change. In doing so it attempts to provide a sociological lens through which roller derby can be seen to be achieved, experienced, and understood in the practices of those who engage with the community. Whilst ethnographic accounts are necessarily situated within specific contexts, this thesis extends the literature on roller derby by highlighting how the competing and dislocated ideals associated with the sport are experienced within very particular places. Moreover, it provides an account of the process through which sports teams within a 'DIY culture' get made and re-made, and, ultimately, how they are variously transformed by the people who experience them. Additionally, through this exploration of the perceptions and experience of men, the thesis seeks to add to the literature redefining what it means to be 'masculine' within sport, in a site where mutual support, comradery, and acceptance are more important than the will to win.
Supervisor: Warren, Lorna ; Clark, Tom Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available