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'Body work - Regulation of a swimmer body': An autoethnography from an Australian elite swimmer


McMahon, J and Dinan-Thompson, M, 'Body work - Regulation of a swimmer body': An autoethnography from an Australian elite swimmer, Sport Education and Society, 16, (1) pp. 35-50. ISSN 1357-3322 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright © 2011 Taylor & Francis The definitive published version is available online at:

DOI: doi:10.1080/13573322.2011.531960


This paper contributes to studies on sociology and the body by exploring my bodily experiences as an Australian elite swimmer in an autoethnographic framework. More specifically, it focuses on the relationship between the regulatory practices of others on my body and my development of self-regulatory practices. The stories in this paper reveal evidence of regulatory practices occurring from four different domains within the Australian elite swimming culture—the coach, the mother, the peers and the self. I have named the regulatory physiological practices as ‘ethnophysiological’ as they were triggered in the social context of Australian swimming and were legitimated through ‘values packaged in a scientific wrapping’. Autoethnography, an ‘autobiographical genre of writing’ has been utilised as it enables the reader to vicariously share my bodily experiences, bestowing a voice of authority to my body to reveal personal experiences, voices and feelings. Within this paper, I will re-tell my stories of being an elite swimmer. I will detail stories of enaction, coach and peer regulation and self-regulation occurring within the elite culture persisting my career over a nine-year period. I use Sparkes' question in regard to embodiment to reflexively shape my analysis; ‘what do my memories reveal about the socialisation of my body’ and draw on literature relevant to sociology and the body.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:regulation, body, autoethnography, swimming, ethnophysiology
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Other education
Research Field:Other education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Other education and training
Objective Field:Other education and training not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:McMahon, J (Associate Professor Jennifer McMahon)
ID Code:71921
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:39
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2011-08-15
Last Modified:2017-11-20
Downloads:4 View Download Statistics

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