McNarry, G, Allen-Collinson, J & Evans, A (2018) Walking the Deck: Methodological considerations and preliminary findings from a sociological-phenomenological study of embodied, sensory experiences in performance swimming, 2018 ISSA World Congress of Sociology of Sport, Lausanne, Switzerland, June 5 – 8, 2018.

McNarry, Gareth and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn and Evans, Adam (2018) McNarry, G, Allen-Collinson, J & Evans, A (2018) Walking the Deck: Methodological considerations and preliminary findings from a sociological-phenomenological study of embodied, sensory experiences in performance swimming, 2018 ISSA World Congress of Sociology of Sport, Lausanne, Switzerland, June 5 – 8, 2018. In: 2018 ISSA World Congress of Sociology of Sport, 5-8 June, Lausanne.

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Abstract

In recent years there has been a burgeoning interest in sporting embodiment, including a growing corpus of phenomenological inspired sociological analyses that draw influence from Merleau-Ponty’s existential phenomenology. This combination of phenomenology and sociology provides a novel framework in the examination of sporting embodiment, and challenges many taken-for granted assumptions and presuppositions regarding the underexplored, under-theorised ‘mundane’ elements of sporting experience that often remain un/under-analysed. Swimming is a physical culture where embodied experiences have been shown to constitute core elements of participation. Studies that examine the embodied experiences of performance swimming, however, remain sparse, and are limited to critical sociological examinations of gendered relationships or training regimes that often overlook the intense embodied experiences of training and competing. Utilising ethnographic methods of participant observation and interviews with senior performance swimmers, this study seeks to develop a richer understanding of the performance swimming lifeworld and how a swimmer’s bodily sensations contribute fundamentally to the construction of this lifeworld. In this paper, we portray the project and its rationale, including aims and design, theoretical underpinnings, and challenges and experiences from the ‘field’. We also present some preliminary findings drawn from two stages of data collection, cohering around key themes including the normalisation of pain, fatigue, and discomfort in this particular physical culture, and the somatic learning in which swimmers engage to gain a ‘feel’ for different properties of the aquatic environment.

Keywords:Sociology, Sociological phenomenology, Phenomenology, The senses, Swimming, Swimmers, Merleau-Ponty, Sport, Sociology of sport
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:32299
Deposited On:20 Oct 2018 20:04

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