How to look good (nearly) naked: the performative regulation of the swimmer's body

Scott, Susie (2010) How to look good (nearly) naked: the performative regulation of the swimmer's body. Body and Society, 16 (2). pp. 143-168. ISSN 1357034X

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This article explores the discursive construction, regulation and performance of the body in the context of the swimming pool. The near-naked state of the swimmers body presents a potential threat to the interaction order, insofar as social encounters may be misconstrued as sexual, and so rituals are enacted to create a `civilized definition of the situation. The term `performative regulation is introduced to theorize this process, as a synergy of the symbolic interactionist models of dramaturgy (Goffman) and negotiated order (Strauss) and the post-structuralist concept of disciplinary power (Foucault). The regulation and representation of the swimmers body can be understood as mutually constitutive mechanisms, enforced by the pool-as-institution but enacted through the embodied practices of individual actors in the pool-as-interaction. Crossleys notion of reflexive body techniques is applied to interpret this dualistic process in relation to communicative gestures and facework rituals, which implicates both individual and social bodies in the somatization of the interaction order.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: Susie Scott
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:25
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2012 15:53
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