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From Meaning to Breathing: Rationalization, Translation, Embodiment, and Cultural Meaning: Four Method Assemblages, Four Realities of Prechoreographed Group Exercise Instructing

Fraser Berndtsson, Mary LU (2013) SOCM04 20122
Sociology
Abstract (Swedish)
Group exercise-to-music classes have long been a popular keep-fit activity and long criticized for their so-called alienating and objectifying aspects. Today there is an ongoing trend from the “freestyle” type where instructors chose their own music and moves, to the “prechoreographed” type produced by corporations like Les Mills International (LMI). LMI prepares standardized, class-in-a-box music and choreography kits which local instructors deliver in licensed clubs—a practice critics claim leads to deskilling, and further alienation and loss of meaning for instructors. Yet, not all instructors feel alienated. In cases where instructors really like the prechoreographed system, what processes underlie their experiencing it as meaningful... (More)
Group exercise-to-music classes have long been a popular keep-fit activity and long criticized for their so-called alienating and objectifying aspects. Today there is an ongoing trend from the “freestyle” type where instructors chose their own music and moves, to the “prechoreographed” type produced by corporations like Les Mills International (LMI). LMI prepares standardized, class-in-a-box music and choreography kits which local instructors deliver in licensed clubs—a practice critics claim leads to deskilling, and further alienation and loss of meaning for instructors. Yet, not all instructors feel alienated. In cases where instructors really like the prechoreographed system, what processes underlie their experiencing it as meaningful and worthwhile?
Through John Law’s method assemblage approach, I argue, it is possible to use different, sometimes contradictory theoretical perspectives to capture these instructors’ realities. The approach was used in the analysis of empirical material collected through qualitative interviews with LMI instructors and participants, participant observations, and examination of LMI texts. Material was analyzed from a Grounded Theory approach and resultant categories were used to build four method assemblages from existing theoretical perspectives. The assemblages shed light on processes of rationalization, translation, embodiment, and cultural meaning which make instructing through LMI worthwhile from interviewees’ points of view. The paper also demonstrates the utility of the multi-method assemblage approach. (Less)
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author
Fraser Berndtsson, Mary LU
supervisor
organization
course
SOCM04 20122
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
prechoreographed, group exercise instructor, Les Mills, ANT, body-subject, ritual, method assemblage
language
English
id
3563831
date added to LUP
2013-03-14 14:41:35
date last changed
2013-03-14 14:41:35
@misc{3563831,
  abstract     = {Group exercise-to-music classes have long been a popular keep-fit activity and long criticized for their so-called alienating and objectifying aspects. Today there is an ongoing trend from the “freestyle” type where instructors chose their own music and moves, to the “prechoreographed” type produced by corporations like Les Mills International (LMI). LMI prepares standardized, class-in-a-box music and choreography kits which local instructors deliver in licensed clubs—a practice critics claim leads to deskilling, and further alienation and loss of meaning for instructors. Yet, not all instructors feel alienated. In cases where instructors really like the prechoreographed system, what processes underlie their experiencing it as meaningful and worthwhile? 
Through John Law’s method assemblage approach, I argue, it is possible to use different, sometimes contradictory theoretical perspectives to capture these instructors’ realities. The approach was used in the analysis of empirical material collected through qualitative interviews with LMI instructors and participants, participant observations, and examination of LMI texts. Material was analyzed from a Grounded Theory approach and resultant categories were used to build four method assemblages from existing theoretical perspectives. The assemblages shed light on processes of rationalization, translation, embodiment, and cultural meaning which make instructing through LMI worthwhile from interviewees’ points of view. The paper also demonstrates the utility of the multi-method assemblage approach.},
  author       = {Fraser Berndtsson, Mary},
  keyword      = {prechoreographed,group exercise instructor,Les Mills,ANT,body-subject,ritual,method assemblage},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {From Meaning to Breathing: Rationalization, Translation, Embodiment, and Cultural Meaning: Four Method Assemblages, Four Realities of Prechoreographed Group Exercise Instructing},
  year         = {2013},
}