Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

The Athletic Body

Edgar, Andrew Robert 2016. The Athletic Body. Health Care Analysis 10.1007/s10728-016-0332-4

[img]
Preview
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (92kB) | Preview

Abstract

This paper seeks to explore the attraction and the beauty of the contemporary athletic body. It will be suggested that a body shaped through muscular bulk and definition has come to be seen as aesthetically normative. This body differs from the body of athletes from the early and mid-twentieth century. It will be argued that the contemporary body is not merely the result of advances in sports science, but rather that it is expressive of certain meanings and values. The visual similarity of the contemporary athletic body and that of the comic book superhero suggests that both bodies carry a similar potential for narrative story-telling, and that their attraction is bound up with this narrative potential. The superhero and athlete live meaningful lives, pursuing clear and morally unambiguous goals. The aesthetic attraction of the body lies in its capacity to facilitate the articulation of a story of a meaningful life, and to do so in the face of the growing anomie and thus meaninglessness of life as experienced in contemporary society. Athleticism offers an illusion of meaning, serving to reproduce dominant justificatory narratives and social stereotypes. Yet, as an illusion of meaning, it may be challenged and negotiated, not least with respect to its bias towards a certain form of the male body. The female athletic body disrupts the illusion, opening up new existential possibilities, new ways of living and being, and thus new, and potentially disruptive, narratives.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords: beauty, health, Johnny Weissmuller, Michael Phelps, monomyth, superheroes
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 1065-3058
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 August 2016
Date of Acceptance: 5 July 2016
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2019 19:16
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/93492

Citation Data

Cited 1 time in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics