RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2015

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189 Geographies of Sport (2): Everyday sport
Convenor(s) Miranda Ward (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
Simon Cook (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
Chair(s) Simon Cook (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
Timetable Thursday 03 September 2015, Session 4 (16:50 - 18:30)
Room Forum - Seminar Room 3
Session abstract This session bring together a diverse array of scholars whose work deals in some way with the place of sport in people’s everyday lives — work which could be said to fit into an emerging and mutable field of “everyday sports geography”. The papers are interested in what the contemporary concepts, theories, and methods used in social and cultural geography can bring to the study of sport, and in exploring the potential for an expanded field of sports geography which takes into account the geographical and societal relevance of sport on a more mundane, individualised level: the experiences and geographies of, for instance, runners on city streets or lap swimmers in the pool.
Linked Sessions Geographies of Sport (1): Everyday sport
Geographies of Sport (3): Sport Facilities and Participation
Geographies of Sport (5): The Role of Sport
Geographies of Sport (4): Methods and Approaches to Sport, and the Role of Sport
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2015@rgs.org
Lifeworld of the Mamils: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of motives, experiences and aspirations of emergent sports cyclists
Tim Jones (Oxford Brookes University, UK)
The Mamil (Middle-aged men in lycra) is a recent phenomenon coined in by the market research firm Mintel in its analysis of the UK bicycle market. Mamils are reportedly well-educated men over 40 years of age, earning more than £50,000 per year, for who the purchase of expensive road bikes for regular weekend riding is a lifestyle addition (Mintel, 2010). This contemporary phenomenon is investigated by delving more deeply into the lifeworld of Mamils in order to understand motivations, experiences and aspirations toward ‘becoming’ a cyclist and what this might mean for the future of cycling more generally in Britain. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 1996) is used as a system of qualitative analysis having roots in Husserl’s (1925) phenomenology. The focus is Web based social media analysis and interviews conducted with recent recruits to a popular road cycling club based in south east England who epitomise what Mintel might characterise as the quintessential Mamil.
Move it or lose it
Elaine Stratford (University of Tasmania, Australia)
This paper presents a reflection on the geographies, mobilities, and rhythms of the middle-aged and older adult body. It is said that we are what we eat; equally, we are how we move. Foucault has written about exercise as a regime of practice in the disciplining biopolitics of the population, and subsequent others have added to his insights the important corrective of gendered readings, for example. I am interested in understanding how the idea of staying young—or of being not-old—is taken up among those in middle and later life in ways that explicitly involve moving. A search of Internet sites such as Real Age reveals the top ten of an estimated fourteen hundred pages on youthfulness among which are headlines on best and worst cities for staying young; how to keep staying young; and move it or lose it. Underpinning such efforts by changing one’s daily rhythms and patterns of mobility are several narratives of the self—not least among them growing trepidation about aging as decline. In this light, I want to ask how is the aging body constituted, especially in terms of decline and increasing incompetence, and how have such notions been challenged, particularly by counter-narratives of positive aging? How are certain geographies, mobilities, and rhythms implicated in regimes to produce fitness as an alternative to decline? What do these narratives reveal about what it means to flourish in middle and later life, and how and to what effects might “moving it” constitute interest in dressage and training, two forms of conduct which concerned Lefebvre and Foucault, among others?
‘Racing to work’: An ethnographic account of transport-as-exercise
Jonas Larsen (Roskilde University, Denmark)
This article destabilizes sedimentary understandings of what cycling is, might be, and how it can be promoted in pro-cycling cities. The specific case is the bicycle commuting practices, by students and staff, on the 27-30 km commuting-route between Roskilde University (RU) and Copenhagen. RU is an odd place in pro-cycling Denmark; there are few bikes and overcrowded racks as most arrive by train from Copenhagen (takes between 20-28 minutes). Many cycle to the train station, but they never contemplate cycling all the way to Roskilde, as the distance is perceived as too demanding. There are few ‘role models’ to prove that it could be otherwise, but some of these make up this ethnography. Informed by practice theory, ‘emplacement theory’ and ethnographic research, I discuss the ‘things and environments’, ‘meanings’ and ‘competences’ that typify this form of cycling. Basically, I ask how and why do these people learn, and perform, this practice, and how can we understand the significance of the environment in this process?
Towards more-than-representational geographies of health and fitness: reverberating some qualities of movement space
Gavin Andrews (McMaster University, Canada)
Although lagging somewhat behind the parent discipline, the last few years have witnessed the gradual emergence of geographies of health and fitness informed by, or well-aligned with, non-representational theory. Although many new insights have emerged into health’s immediacy, some direct attention could arguably be paid to the ways in which health constantly moves forwards along with, and in the fashion of, all life; within the unravelling, frontier of existence – the ‘onflow’ of space-time. The aim of this paper is in particular to emphasize the nature and importance of rhythm, momentum, vitality, infectiousness (then spread), imminence (then encounter) of an in places, as understood and experienced in their most fundamental and basic forms. It is argued that attending to these qualities might help scholars appreciate, and reverberate, the movement in health as it takes place.