chapter  1
23 Pages

Sporting embodiments

Sports studies and the (continuing) promise of phenomenology
WithJacquelyn Allen-Collinson

Whilst in recent years sports studies have undoubtedly taken to heart vociferous calls 'to bring the body back in' to theorisations of sport and physical activity, the 'promise of phenomenology' remains largely under-realised with regard to sporting embodiment. This chapter gives a brief introduction to phenomenology, and provides a brief overview of key phenomenological strands. It identifies central characteristics or qualities of the phenomenological method. The chapter considers some of the ways in which phenomenology has been operationalised, including within sports and exercise studies, and in the application of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). It examines the potential of existentialist phenomenology in particular to offer rich analyses of sporting embodiment that evocatively portray the multi-textured experiences of the lived sporting body. Phenomenology seeks to provide highly textured, evocative descriptions that locate the specifics of individual experience within broader, more general structures of human experience. Phenomenology provides us with a way of combining the personal, idiographic and the general, ethnographic.