Narrative and discursive perspectives on athletic identity : Past, present, and future
Ronkainen, N. J., Kavoura, A., & Ryba, T. V. (2016). Narrative and discursive perspectives on athletic identity : Past, present, and future. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 27 (November), 128-137. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2016.08.010
Published inPsychology of Sport and Exercise
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Elsevier. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
Objectives The dominant role-based conceptualisations of athletic identity have recently been challenged in favour of theoretical perspectives that view identity as a complex cultural construction. In the present study, we analysed empirical studies on athletic identity positioned in narrative and discursive approaches to gain an insight into the use and subsequent contribution of these approaches to knowledge production in this research topic. Design and method A total of 23 articles, of which 18 narrative studies and five discursive studies, were identified in a systematic literature search. We used the meta-study method to analyse these studies in terms of basic assumptions, methodologies, and findings. Results Early narrative studies focused on biographical disruption in career termination and/or severe injury, whereas more recent studies examined the impact of different identity narratives on athletes' well-being and career decisions. Discursive studies examined the multiple ways in which dominant understandings of gender, age, and the athletic body are (re)produced and normalised within sporting cultures and institutions and can act to constrain athletes to certain identities and practices. Both approaches highlighted that elite sport culture offers limited narrative resources or subject positions for athletes, and can endanger athletes' well-being if they are unable to comply with dominant ideals of being an athlete. Conclusions Narrative and discursive approaches have advanced understandings of the constitutive role of sporting culture in athletic identity formation. Future research should continue exploring athletic identity in various physical cultural contexts and seek to identify alternative narratives and discourses that may enable athletes to construct more adaptive identities. ...