‘I am proud of my back’: an ethnographic study of the motivations and meanings of body modification as identity work among athletes with spinal cord injury

Journal article


Sparkes, A., Brighton, James and Inckle, Kay 2020. ‘I am proud of my back’: an ethnographic study of the motivations and meanings of body modification as identity work among athletes with spinal cord injury. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. 13 (3), pp. 407-425. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676x.2020.1756393
AuthorsSparkes, A., Brighton, James and Inckle, Kay
Abstract

Little is known about why disabled athletes choose to modify their bodies and the meanings that these modifications have for them. Drawing on data from a larger 4-year ethnographic study, we focus on the motivations and meanings of five athletes who had become disabled due to spinal cord injury (SCI) for tattooing their bodies in specific ways. Our analysis illuminates the following key themes as being significant in the body modification choices of those involved: re-inscribing identity, subverting the ableist stare and embodying disability pride, articulating gendered sexuality, and enabling the process of narrative mapping between pre- and post-spinal cord injury periods. In considering these themes we reveal some important contrasts between ablebodied and disabled forms of engagement with body modification practices.

KeywordsSpinal cord injured athletes; Tatoos as body modification; Re-inscribing identity and subverting the ablesist stare; Embodying pride and articulating gendered sexuality; Narrative mapping
Year2020
JournalQualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health
Journal citation13 (3), pp. 407-425
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN2159-676X
2159-6778
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676x.2020.1756393
Official URLhttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2159676X.2020.1756393
Publication dates
Online14 May 2020
Print04 May 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted13 Apr 2020
Deposited02 Nov 2022
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/92zy0/-i-am-proud-of-my-back-an-ethnographic-study-of-the-motivations-and-meanings-of-body-modification-as-identity-work-among-athletes-with-spinal-cord-injury

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