Negotiating female judoka identities in Greece: A Foucauldian discourse analysis

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Objectives:The objectives of this paper are to trace the discourses through which female Greek judokas articulate their sporting experiences and to explore how they construct their identities through the negotiation of sociocultural beliefs and gender stereotypes.Design:This article is based on interview data from a larger ethnographic research with women judo athletes, grounded in a cultural praxis framework.Method:Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted during fieldwork in Greece. Interview data were analyzed drawing on a Foucauldian approach to discourse analysis.Results:We identified four concepts—biology, gender, femininity, and judo/sport—that were central to unearthing the discourses in which female Greek judokas constructed their identities. Female athletes (strategically) negotiated multiple identities, each serving different purposes.Conclusion:The gender power dynamics in Greek society at large are reproduced in the sporting experience of Greek female judokas. Although women have agency to negotiate their identity, they tend to accept the “given” subject positions within dominant discourses of gender relations. By doing so, female athletes become agents in the reproduction of patriarchal power.HighlightsWe explore how female judokas construct identity through negotiation of cultural discourses.We extend feminist cultural praxis drawing on post-structuralist theories.Greek female judokas are subjected to dominant discourses and gender stereotypes.They construct and manage multiple identities to become accepted as both fighters and women.Female judokas accept and reproduce the male superiority in judo.

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