Bourdieu, feminism and female physical culture: Gender reflexivity and the habitus-field complex
Thorpe, H. (2009). Bourdieu, feminism and female physical culture: Gender reflexivity and the habitus-field complex. Sociology of Sport Journal, 26(4), 491-516.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3681
Feminist theorizing in the sociology of sport and physical culture has progressed through ongoing and intense dialogue with an array of critical positions and voices in the social sciences (e.g., Judith Butler, R.W. Connell, Michel Foucault). Yet, somewhat surprisingly, the work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu—arguably one of modern sociology’s “most important voices of social critique and theoretical innovation” (Krais, 2006, p. 120)—has gone largely unheard among critical sports scholars interested in gender (notable exceptions include Atencio, Beal & Wilson, 2009; Brown, 2006; Kay & Laberge, 2004; Laberge, 1995). In this paper I introduce recent feminist engagements with Bourdieu’s original work to a critical sports sociology readership via a case study of snowboarding culture and female snowboarders. I begin by briefly examining the efficacy of three of Bourdieu’s key concepts—capital, field and habitus—for explaining gender and embodiment in snowboarding culture. I then consider how the habitus-field complex can illustrate the “synchronous nature of constraint and freedom” (McNay, 2000, p. 61) for women in contemporary physical culture.
Human Kinetics Publishers Inc.
This article has been published in the journal: Sociology of Sport Journal. ©2009 Human Kinetics, Inc.
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