Sport, Technology and the Body : The Nature of Performance book cover
1st Edition

Sport, Technology and the Body
The Nature of Performance

ISBN 9780415378765
Published December 9, 2008 by Routledge
200 Pages

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Book Description

What is the nature of athletic performance? This book offers an answer to this fascinating question by considering the relationship between sport, technology and the body. Specifically, it examines cultural resistance to the enhancement of athletes and explores the ways in which performance technologies complicate and confound our conception of the sporting body.

The book addresses concerns about the technological "invasion" of the "natural" body to investigate expectations that athletic performances reflect nothing more than the actual capacity of the untainted athlete. By examining a series of case studies, including Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, Fastskin swimsuits, hypoxic chambers and an array of illicit substances and methods, the book distinguishes between internal and external technologies to highlight the ways that performance enhancement, and public reaction to it, can be read.

Sport, Technology and the Body offers a powerful challenge to conventional views of athletic performance that stand authenticity against artifice, integrity against corruption, and athletic purity against technological intrusion. It is essential reading for all serious students of the sociology, culture or ethics of sport.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: Sport, the Body and Performance Technology Chapter 2: The Nature of Sport Chapter 3: The Nature of the Body Chapter 4: The Nature of Performance Chapter 5: The Nature of Health Chapter 6: 'Those Girls with Sideburns': Enhancing the Female Body Chapter 7: Enhancing the Body from Without: Artificial Skins and Other Prosthetics Chapter 8: Drugs, Sport and Australian Identity Chapter 9: The Performance of Nature at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Chapter 10: Conclusion Bibliography

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Tara Magdalinski is the Academic Director of the Centre for Sports Studies at University College Dublin. Her research focuses on the construction of social identities and the production of historical narratives through sport. She co-edited With God on Their Side: Sport in the Service of Religion (Routledge, 2002).


“Tara Magdalinski’s fascinating book Sport, Technology and the Body, touches on a subject that has been widely written on of late, yet she goes the extra mile in much of her analysis … Magdalinski’s critiques are extraordinarily good and her analogies and analysis is often excellent … She also writes beautifully”, Wendy Varney,

"A good read from front to back. Tara [Magdalinski]'s clear writing style and carefully laid out manuscript makes for easy reading, as does a well-scaffolded argument about the nature of athletic performance and the role of technology in enhancing such performance", lisahunter, Sport, Education and Society

"engagingly written and holds the reader well. Its structure and argument is clear and the narrative development of complex ideas and arguments compelling and persuasive. The book ought to be read in its entirety in order to ensure the reader is also able to connect up the conceptual and empirical elements of the work. The text provides an excellent introduction for advanced undergraduates and beyond who are familiar with the doping issue to develop a greater understanding of the deep-seated cultural roots of the performance enhancing problem", Alun Hardman, Sport, Ethics and Philosophy