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The Sentient, Skilled and Situated of Sustaining a Physical Activity Career: Pleasurable Interpretations of Corporeal Ambiguity

Day, John and Burns, Jan and Weed, Mike (2021) 'The Sentient, Skilled and Situated of Sustaining a Physical Activity Career: Pleasurable Interpretations of Corporeal Ambiguity.' International Review for the Sociology of Sport. p. 101269022110535. ISSN 1012-6902

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Abstract

In comparison to the natural sciences, there is a lack of empirically grounded social scientific research which addresses how people arrive at forming pleasurable interpretations of physical activity participation. Both social and natural conceptualisations of the bodily sensations evoked via physical activity involvement have also been restricted to pain and pleasure and pleasure-displeasure dualisms. Nevertheless, there is general agreement across these disciplines that pleasurable interpretations of physical activity participation encourage regular and sustained future involvement. We draw on carnal sociology to explain life history interview data from 30 varied physical activity careers to argue that corporeal experiences of being physically active are more ambiguous than existing pleasure-pain dualisms suggest. Furthermore, interpreting these ambiguous corporeal senses as pleasurable was of central importance to sustaining a prolonged physical activity career, which we argue is a carnal skill that can be learned. This skill, possessed by those interviewees with the most prolonged physical activity careers, had been acquired through becoming accustomed to the unique situated sensual ambiguities of particular physical activities, as a type of existential connoisseurship. Future research might pay more attention to the ambiguity of physical activity involvement, the carnal interpretation of which carries important consequences for the likelihood of long-term participation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: carnal sociology; physical activity; pleasure; corporeality; dualisms
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2021 15:14
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:33
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/31844

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