Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Costa, V.R., Luguetti, C., Santos Oliveira, M.D., Pinheiro, M.C., Nunomura, M.
Living within and outside a disciplinary bubble: a Foucauldian analysis of Brazilian gymnasts’ experiences in boarding school
(2022) Sport, Education and Society, .

DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2022.2142544

The gymnastics’ environment has been criticised for producing uncompromising coaching practices, emotional disorders, harassment and abuse. Furthermore, the challenges faced by the young gymnasts can be acute when they live in gymnastics boarding schools, where many aspects of their lives are controlled. Drawing upon a Foucauldian lens, this study explores power relations in the lived experiences of former artistic gymnasts who trained in a gymnastics boarding school in Brazil, and the pedagogical and policy implications. Qualitative data were produced from semi-structured interviews with five former Brazilian artistic gymnasts, who described their everyday lives within and around the gymnastics boarding school. First, we explore how technologies of dominance produced a specific docile gymnast subjectivity and how this subjectivation process impacted the lived experiences of the gymnasts during their careers.

Second, Foucault’s later work on the technologies of the self helps us in the microanalysis of how gymnasts negotiated the process of moving out of a space with specific discourses and power relations, that impacted their everyday lives. In so doing, we explore the tensions between technologies of domination and technologies of self. We propose the following pedagogical and policy implications: (a) we question the notion that coaches, and even the gymnastics environment, automatically prepare the gymnasts for ‘real life’ through the application of disciplinary strategies; (b) we advocate for shifting from coercive and punitive strategies to discipline strategies that consider responsive pedagogies and (c) we highlight the importance of the co-responsibility and co-surveillance of stakeholders. Such pedagogical and policy implications might contribute to reflections in gymnastics, in elite athletes’ programmes, and boarding school systems. © 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Author Keywords
athletes’ lived experiences; boarding schools; coaching; discipline; Foucault; Gymnastics

Index Keywords
article, athlete, Brazil, career, drawing, elite athlete, gymnast, gymnastics, human, human experiment, microanalysis, pedagogics, personal experience, responsibility, semi structured interview, tension

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