Interpretative repertoires of performance: Shaping gender in swimming

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Karin Grahn
University of Gothenburg


karin-grahnAbstract

This article deals with the way in which various views of performance are used in talking about youth competitive swimming during adolescence. Making use of interviews with competitive youth swimmers and coaches, the study explores the interpretative repertoires used to discuss performance, and how these repertoires influence gender construction. The analysis of the interview data shows that boys are positioned as performing athletes and girls as stagnating in their athletic progress. These positions are consequencies of the interpretative repertoire of performance as outcome, framing time and personal records as the most central aspect. Since girls are perceived as not breaking personal records, they are also positioned as the ones with deteriorating performances during adolescence. Alternative interpretative repertoires discovered in the interviews are performance as a process and as doing one’s best. These repertoires were less connected to gender and enabled more athletes (both girls and boys) to be viewed by themselves and others as performing athletes.


Click here to read this peer reviewed article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum, Vol. 6 2015


About the Author

KARIN GRAHN is a Senior Lecturer of sport science in the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science at the University of Gothenburg. Karin has a PhD in pedagogics and is currently lecturing in the Sports Coaching programme as well as in teachers education programme for Physical education. Her research interests include child- and youth sports and gender perspective on coaching and educational practices. Karin’s PhD-thesis (2008) explored gender construction in text books used to educate youth coaches in different sports. More recent work has been on sustainable coaching practises, coach-athlete relationships, and gender construction in sport practices.


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