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Body Politics, Social Change, and the Future of Physical Cultural Studies

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Part of the Global Culture and Sport Series book series (GCS)

Abstract

The snowboarding body is a multidimensional and dynamic social, historical, economic, material, mediated, cultural, gendered, moving, and sensual phenomenon. While the preceding chapters each explored different dimensions of the snowboarding body, some key themes and sociological concepts weave through these discussions, including structure, agency, culture, power, subjectivity, reflexivity, gender, media, time, and social change. In this chapter I draw some of these strands together with a discussion of alternative body politics in contemporary youth- dominated physical cultures. For Parkins (2000), ‘we cannot think of political agency in abstraction from embodiment’ (p. 60). Similarly, any critical discussion of the body in contemporary sport and physical culture would be incomplete without considering its potential for initiating social change. This final chapter consists of two main parts. In the first part, I draw upon two theoretical approaches – nonrepresentational theory and third- wave feminism – to reveal some of the creative and embodied approaches employed by contemporary youth to produce new forms of passionate and affective politics in local and global contexts. Second, I offer some concluding comments about the opportunities and challenges for theorizing the body and researching physical cultures, and particularly youth-dominated action sport cultures, into the twenty- first century, and possibilities for the ‘strategic dissemination of potentially empowering forms of knowledge and understanding’ (Andrews, 2008, p. 54).

Keywords

  • Social Change
  • Social Theory
  • Feminist Politics
  • Wave Feminist
  • Bare Life

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

I think we are powerful, positive and able to effect change in our sport – we just have to go out there and make those changes ourselves and create the difference by working together and using all the resources we have available to us. (Pamela, Olympic snow-boarder, personal communication, February 2005)

In post- industrial societies, the younger generations… have become less willing than their parents and grandparents to channel their political energies through traditional agencies… and more likely to express themselves through a variety of ad hoc, contextual, and specific activities of choice, increasingly via new social movements, internet activism, and transnational policy networks… they are becoming more actively engaged via alternative means of expression. (Norris, 2002, p. 222)

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9780230305571_10
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© 2011 Holly Thorpe

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Thorpe, H. (2011). Body Politics, Social Change, and the Future of Physical Cultural Studies. In: Snowboarding Bodies in Theory and Practice. Global Culture and Sport Series. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230305571_10

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