Sports-Identity-and-RepresentationLeader

Dr. Seán Crosson

Members

Sport and exercise practices annually mobilize millions of people across the world: as practitioners in a wide variety of competitive, educational, recreational and, increasingly, health-related contexts; and as spectators, whether physically present or, more typically, following events via the mass media. In so doing, sporting practices and representations contribute significantly to the social construction of identities, through the elaboration of discourses and networks of power relations that, together, both shape and serve to legitimize highly distinctive processes of socialization. These mechanisms may be regarded negatively, for instance, by Marxist, Foucauldian and feminist critics respectively, as alienating, disciplinary and/or patriarchal. They may also be interpreted more positively, as permitting self-expression and even self-actualization of various kinds, in a tradition of linking the playing of games to the education of the young that stretches at least as far back as the Roman concept of mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body). However, perhaps most persuasively, sport may be understood as combining both positive and negative features, depending on the specific situations in which it is practised, watched, listened to, read about or otherwise consumed, and thus on the variety of individual and collective experiences to which it may give rise.

This research cluster emerges from ongoing research projects in the areas of sport and exercise in disciplines across NUI Galway and brings together a broad range of researchers within the College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies; the College of Business, Public Policy, & Law; the College of Engineering & Informatics; and the College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences. A key concern of this cluster is to explore and facilitate the development of interdisciplinary research in the areas of sport and exercise.