Garfinkel, competence and contingency: Respecting the codes of practice
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Viewing sport coaching as complex and relational, this thesis used the writings of Harold Garfinkel, who developed ethnomethodological inquiry, as an alternative social theorist to better understand the activity. The aim of this study was to explore and deconstruct the everyday interactions of coaches, through paying specific attention to the context under which such behaviours occur. Accepting that coaching is a social activity, the purpose was to examine the ‘taken-for-granted’ social rules that the coaches and players of Bayside Rovers F.C. (pseudonym), a semi-professional football club, utilised to achieve desired ends. In doing so, the study adopted an ethnomethodologically informed ethnography to observe, participate and describe how the coaches managed, manipulated and influenced others through their ‘social competencies’ (Lemert, 1997). The data were collected over the course of a full domestic season (10 months). Through adopting an iterative approach, the data were subject to a light ethnomethodological analysis, principally drawing upon the work of Harold Garfinkel (1967, 2002, 2006). What is presented then, are four codes that were used to describe and explain the behaviour patterns observed. The codes included; ‘play well’, ‘fitting-in’, the ‘brotherhood’ and ‘respecting space’. More specifically, the ethnomethodological analysis demonstrated how coaches and players ‘actualised’ the codes (Wieder, 1974). In this respect, Garfinkel’s writings are used as a ‘respecification’ of some fundamental aspects of coaches’ everyday work that is ‘seen but unnoticed’ (Garfinkel, 1967). From this perspective, the findings contribute to the increasingly refined body of research acknowledging coaching as a social activity, further highlighting the principal link between sociology and sport coaching.
Corsby, C. (2017). Garfinkel, competence and contingency: Respecting the codes of practice. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Cardiff Metropolitan University.
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