Whose Body Is It? The Problem of Autonomy in Sport

Two dominant approaches guide the ways we consider "works of art" as modes of visual narration.

For human beings, our bodies serve as the material basis of our existence. Without our physical bodies, we would not be able to engage in social practices. And while we cannot choose our body, we can throughout our lives shape our body and attempt to make it "our own." Unfortunately, however, we are not the only ones trying to control our bodies. Politicians, businesses, social groups, and other individuals also are interested in "own" our bodies. As a result, they profoundly influence the meaning of "our" bodies via defining the limits of what, where, and how we can use them.

At this year's conference, we want to investigate how bodies are free and governed in all levels of sport, from:

  • Legal perspectives: who owns an athlete's body? Is it a club, sponsors, or the public?

  • Organizational aspects: do existing governing bodies of sport require reforms?

  • Medical aspects: what is the role of medical doctors, physiotherapists, coaches in overseeing athletes' bodies?

  • Socio-cultural meanings: are we considering dynamic changes in gender, race, and cultural definitions of bodies

  • Historical legacies: what have been attempts by sports organizations to control elite athletes via "body rules", and what are the lessons learned?

We are both interested in work that deals with these challenges on a day-to-day level and speculative theoretical work that positions sports and society researchers at the forefront for interpreting and acting on broader social movement.