Joe GillettPhD student
Running and Swimming: A Materialized Account of Careers and Practices
Regular exercise can bring a range of physical and social benefits, yet the social processes underpinning how participation in various exercise activities starts and, in particular, is sustained and changes in the long term continues to be contested.
With reference to different forms of recreational running and swimming, my thesis explores the relevance of an approach that takes practice (Reckwitz 2002), and the associated proposition that ‘materials’ are implicated in practice, as the central unit of conceptualisation and analysis. An encompassing notion of materials is adopted in the thesis, with this term taken to include the following kinds: natural and built structures; clothing and equipment; seasonal conditions and the weather; as well as the body.
Drawing on interviews with 30 runners and swimmers in two English cities, Bristol and Lancaster, as well as desk-based historical research, I focus on how the materials of running and swimming have changed in recent decades, the significance of how they combine as part of the ‘doing’ of runs and swims, and how these phenomenon link to patterns of participation over the course of interviewee’s lives or ‘careers’ in running and swimming.
Keywords: social theories of practice; materials; running; swimming; qualitative research.
- DEMAND - Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand