“Nothing stops you, nobody.” Construction of female embodied subjectivity in the Spanish Olympic karate team
EntityUAM. Departamento de Educación Física, Deporte y Motricidad Humana
SubjectsWomen; Gender; Martial art; Combat sport; Embodiment; Subjectivity; Empowerment; Educación
NoteTesis Doctoral inédita leída en la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Facultad de Formación de Profesorado y Educación, Departamento de Educación Física, Deporte y Motricidad Humana. Fecha de Lectura: 22-04-2022
Esta obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.
The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the processes of construction of the female embodied subjectivity in the Spanish Olympic karate team. Embodied subjectivity is a dynamic concept that refers to the processes of production of oneself, leading the person to become a subject, from where, here I consider, they can achieve empowerment. The focus of the study is on the theme of gender, especially addressing the issue of women in the karateka field, which is structured in the binary order of gender. As a modality that combines martial art and sport, karate is configured as a complex practice that reaches the Olympic scene, albeit for a limited time considering that it will no longer be included in Paris 2024. This scenario increments the karateka environment, making it more public and, thus, making the athletes more visible. All these elements participate in the elaboration of the karateka habitus, grounded in tradition and hegemonic masculinity, and female performativity, which also affects strongly the construction of subjectivity. To research these and other elements inherent to the objective, I carried out a sports ethnography/autoethnography taking as the main source for the elaboration of this thesis the contributions of the Spanish women's karate team in preparation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 (2021). Among other ethnographic procedures carried out during the four years of the doctorate course and supported by my own experience, I conducted two semi-structured interviews with each member of the team consisting of 14 karateka women and four coaches. I did the qualitative analysis of data from interviews and also videos of athletes' performances in competitions. Such full analysis was carried out taking into account substantive theory and formal theory, which is anchored in a literature review especially in sport sociology. From this emerged four chapters of findings and discussion. The first one is organized in order to present and contextualize the karateka environment and the position that women fighters occupy in it. The following three chapters are focused in order to answer the research questions launched for this study, which are: What factors affect the construction of female karateka embodied subjectivities in the Spanish Olympic team?; What are the means, resources or strategies adopted by women to gain space or to maintain themselves in this environment typically understood as masculine?; How sports culture influences the development of female embodied subjectivity in Spanish Olympic karate? The findings indicated that the construction of subjectivity continues regardless of the Olympic scenario, and this construction is influenced by the numerous factors that affect the habitus that women embody; they pay a price to come to belong; they have to resist the martial culture that lowers female performance, but not only it, lowering and putting in place of “other” women themselves; they need to deal with the sports culture added to the martial one, which, since it is a sport understood as masculine, accuses women of being masculinized; and this same sports culture also sexualizes their bodies, since in patriarchy the view of the woman-object at the disposal of the man-subject is naturalized. Thus, the woman, despite all the fights, even those that take place on the tatami, is still in a place of subalternity. In other words, the martial/sports environment is not different from what is found in society as a whole. In conclusion, the fact that women take a position where they are so challenged show how they are able to occupy that space, always told them that it was not theirs, without permission to expand themselves. In relation to the real potentials they have, most women still believe in their potentials in a reduced mode. Not only physically, but in the sense of embodiment and embodied subjectivity in which they produce themselves or how they conceive of themselves. However, they are still facing and overcoming many adversities. Thus, even in the midst of a challenging scenario, women's awareness, experience and empowerment, elements of a refined female subjectivity, can be able to work to slowly reverse unfair situations in favour of women themselves and other vulnerable groups to heteronormativity.
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Google Scholar:Turelli, Fabiana Cristina
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