Sporting Bodies That Protest: Nation, Sport, Media, and Bio-Politics

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Craig COOK, Simpson University, Redding, California, USA
Sport has often been viewed as an apolitical social sphere. This paper seeks a historically and sociologically informed perspective on sporting athletes who use their bodies not only as tools in the arena of athletics, but use their bodies to protest social injustice, or to move social agendas. How is the sporting body both constitutive of power in athletics, but also in the realm of politics? At the same time, how are protesting sporting bodies subject to the power of the state, corporation, and the media? How are sporting bodies fashioned into sites of resistance by cultural agents? A review of past, present, and emerging forms of corporeal sporting protest will be addressed. Further, this paper is informed by Michel Foucault’s work on the body, specifying bio-power techniques as exerted on the corporeal body from the nation-state, the corporation, and the media. Sporting bodies that protest then become a site over contested meanings of social justice regarding groups, race, and nation. What meanings have emerged historically from these protesting sporting bodies? Do these meanings remain at the symbolic level or are they used to transform structures of unequal power in society? How does human agency interact with social structure as sporting bodies emerge on the social sporting scene? Socio-historical content analysis will be employed to study this ongoing social phenomenon.