To explore the lived experiences of female Rugby Union players via a sociology of the senses
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Much research in sport is conducted at an abstract, theoretical level. Little research exists on the corporeal realities of the lived sporting body. The social world, and consequently sport, is experienced foremost through the senses. Therefore, using a phenomenological approach to study how bodily sensation influences experience offers an insight into this lived sporting body. Eight female rugby union players were chosen to participate in a set of three focus group interviews. Here they were questioned on their sensuous experiences playing rugby. Of how bodily sensation can create a sporting experience as a whole. The gender of the participants was also taken into consideration. Previous research has identified differences between how each gender utilises their bodily sensations. These females who participate in a typically ‘masculine’ sport therefore provided an interesting avenue in which to explore this further. In keeping with the phenomenological philosophy, the participants reflected on their sensuous, taken-for-granted experiences and recalled them with rich and vivid description. Five key sense-related themes emerged from the study, with the senses interacting in a myriad of ways to form a playing experience as a whole. Despite their inexperience in acknowledging their sensual contributions to sport, the participants performed well in their interviews, creating value in this study for bringing the ‘fleshy’ body into sport research.
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