Becoming-Roller Derby: Women, Sport, and the Affects of Power

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Primary Supervisor

Fullagar, Simone

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Wise, Patricia

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2013
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Abstract

This project is centrally concerned with (re)writing and (re)conceptualising a feminist cultural imaginary for sport and physical culture. Focusing on roller derby as a ‘new’ sport played predominantly by women, I examine the various affects in circulation, both on and off the track, and what these affects do. Thinking through affects, I highlight the processes of transformation that women undergo through roller derby and the challenges of sustaining this kind of cultural space into the future. In doing so, I have written of women in their multiplicity, drawing on post-structural conceptualisations of subjectivity and recent socio-cultural theorising of affects. I acknowledge the challenges of women coming together to pursue a shared goal, yet the project is a hopeful one, in which I offer alternatives to reductionist thinking or biological determinism. Conceptualisations of sport and leisure as ‘empowering’ or necessarily ‘resistant’ for women are questioned throughout this thesis. This questioning grounds my analysis in women’s bodies as they experience roller derby: as they skate, move, fall, bruise and break; and as they form friendships, allies and ‘enemies’, and feel love, joy and pleasure. Privileging women’s bodies throughout this thesis enables a focus on the affective realm of experience, rather than just the interpretive. A focus on affects tells a different story of sport and physical culture, one that is more generous in taking into account bodies sexed as female and their particular challenges in embodying power.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

Degree Program

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Public

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Subject

Women and sport

Feminist culture

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