Physical Culture, Ethnography and the Body : Theory, Method and Praxis book cover
1st Edition

Physical Culture, Ethnography and the Body
Theory, Method and Praxis

ISBN 9780367247553
Published June 7, 2019 by Routledge
264 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The corporeal turn toward critical, empirically grounded studies of the body is transforming the way we research physical culture, most evidently in the study of sport. This book brings together original insights on contemporary physical culture from key figures working in a variety of disciplines, offering a wealth of different theoretical and philosophical ways of engaging with the body while never losing site of the material form of the research act itself.

Contributors spanning the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, communications, and sport studies highlight conceptual, methodological, and empirical approaches to the body that include observant-participation, feminist ethnography, autoethnography, physical cultural studies, and phenomenology. They provide vivid case studies of embodied research on topics including basketball, boxing, cycling, dance, fashion modelling and virtual gaming. This international collection not only reflects on the most important recent developments in embodied research practices, but also looks forward to the continuing importance of the body as a focus for research and the possibilities this presents for studies of the active, moving body in physical culture and beyond.

Physical Culture, Ethnography and the Body: Theory, method and praxis is fascinating reading for all those interested in physical cultural studies, the sociology of sport and leisure, physical education or the body.

Table of Contents

Section I: Theoretical Movements  1. Sporting embodiment: Sports studies and the (continuing) promise of phenomenology  2. Physical capital and situated action: A new direction for corporeal sociology  3. What is this ‘physical’ in physical cultural studies?  4. From embodiment to emplacement: Re-thinking competing bodies, senses, and spatialities  Section II: Methodological Movements  5. Ethnography as precarious work  6. Feminist ethnography and physical culture: Towards reflexive, political, and collaborative methods  7. Habitus as topic and tool: Reflections on becoming a prizefighter  8. Moving in the margins: Active urban bodies and the politics of ethnography  9. The embodied experience: Dance ethnography and the dancing body  Section III: Empirical Movements  10. Methods that move: Exploring young women’s embodied experiences of femininity and exer-games  11. Research on the run: Moving methods and the charity ‘thon’  12. Competing masculinities: South Asian American identity formation in Asian American basketball leagues  13. (Auto)ethnography and cycling


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Michael D. Giardina is an Associate Professor of Media, Politics, and Physical Culture in the Department of Sport Management at Florida State University, USA. He is the author or editor of 18 books, including Sport, Spectacle, and NASCAR Nation: Consumption and the Cultural Politics of Neoliberalism (with Joshua Newman), Sporting Pedagogies: Performing Culture and Identity in the Global Arena, and Qualitative Inquiry in Neoliberal Times (with Norman K. Denzin). He is Editor of the Sociology of Sport Journal, Special Issues Editor of Cultural Studies<=>Critical Methodologies, co-editor (with Brett Smith) of the Qualitative Research in Sport and Physical Activity book series (Routledge), and co-editor (with Norman K. Denzin) of the ICQI book series (Routledge)

Michele K. Donnelly is an Assistant Professor in the School of Foundations, Leadership, and Administration at Kent State University, USA. Her research focuses on qualitative research methodologies, as well as sport policy and women onlyness in sport and physical culture. She is a member of the editorial board of the Sociology of Sport Journal and on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Flat-Track Derby Association (WFTDA)


"Giardina and Donnelly have compiled and crafted a superb collection of essays, which illuminate, probe and critique the place and role of the body in contemporary sport and physical culture. Utilising embodied ethnographic approaches – and offering nuanced expositions of the methodologies, epistemologies, positionalities and politics that underpin them – this book will become required reading for scholars and students in the field. The body, the editors remind us, still matters – critically, these essays identify precisely which bodies matter, and how, where and why." – Daniel Burdsey, Head of Research, School of Sport and Service Management, University of Brighton, UK

"Physical Culture, Ethnography and the Body provides an invaluable resource for ethnographically oriented and interested researchers, and not only those interested in the empirical realm of physical culture. Bringing together a comprehensive collection of key works and discussions written by the leading exponents of their respective ethnographic approaches, this collection elucidates the complexities, contradictions, and concerns implicit within ethnographic practice in general, and focuses on those particularly pertaining to the study of physical culture. Furthermore, Giardina and Donnelly’s considered and insightful curation of this collection brings to light the empirical, methodological, and theoretical diversity of approaches utilized in examining the embodied experiences of physical culture. As such, this book is destined to inform and inspire the next generation of ethnographers of physical culture." – Professor David L. Andrews, Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland, USA