2017 Special Focus: Out of Bounds—Gender, Identity, and Participation in Sport

The practice of sport is often idealized as a social activity that levels the playing field,” to use a sporting metaphor. At the core of the leveling thesis is the assumption that exemplary effort is the key denominator for actualizing success. Nevertheless, there is a long history of critically examining “exclusions” from the playing field, boundaries that prevent the playing field from being truly level. Gender is one of these “boundary makers.” In a world where gender is becoming more fluid and more defined, how do sports reproduce traditional exclusions or play a transformative role in reconceiving gender across the playing field? How does gender frame participation in inclusive as well as exclusive ways?

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