Friedman, A.C., Mills, J.P., Gearity, B.
Natural science and culture grapple on the mat: an autoethnography of a wrestler’s rapid weight loss
(2022) Sports Coaching Review
Jean-Francois Lyotard’s iconic essay, The Post-modern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1978) detailed the shifting nature of knowledge in post-industrial society that meant sciences had to find new ways to justify their claims, and education had to bring disciplinary knowledges together. Yet sport sciences and coach education retain a siloed disciplinary nature, and as a result have been criticised for lacking theoretical, critical and practical thought. Rapid weight loss (RWL) in combat and weight class sports is one example of a coach knowledge and practice that retains disciplinary boundaries. Despite a wealth of natural sport science research and recommendations evidencing numerous negative health and performance consequences, RWL remains as common as ever. Not mentioned in the natural scientific literature however, are any deeper social-cultural examinations of how RWL endures. Using a Foucauldian analysis of power relations in an auto-ethnography of one collegiate wrestler’s experiences, we examine the social forces surrounding RWL to demonstrate the importance of Lyotard’s post-modern call to bringing disciplines together for sports science and coach education. © 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Autoethnography; Foucault; natural and social science; rapid weight loss