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The social construction of the female athlete’s identity: A case study of the Dutch national women’s volleyball team.

Aning, Nienke LU (2016) SKPM08 20161
Department of Strategic Communication
Abstract (Swedish)
Looking from a PR perspective, sport can be seen as a microcosm of social life, and be used to reveal underlying values as power relations in society. This qualitative case study concerned itself with the social identity construction of female athletes and the effect of social change on this identity, in order to analyse gender issues in society. While taking a constructionist approach, the theoretical foundation of this research lies within identity construction, gender issues and hegemonic masculinity. By means of content analyses and semi-structured interviews, the identity construction of the Dutch women’s volleyball team is analysed. Results reveal that international success implies a shift in identity showing that once the athletes... (More)
Looking from a PR perspective, sport can be seen as a microcosm of social life, and be used to reveal underlying values as power relations in society. This qualitative case study concerned itself with the social identity construction of female athletes and the effect of social change on this identity, in order to analyse gender issues in society. While taking a constructionist approach, the theoretical foundation of this research lies within identity construction, gender issues and hegemonic masculinity. By means of content analyses and semi-structured interviews, the identity construction of the Dutch women’s volleyball team is analysed. Results reveal that international success implies a shift in identity showing that once the athletes become winners they are no longer female anymore but Dutch. Further, a double standard is imposed by the media resulting in female athletes having to meet male’s expectations while at the same time media realises female and male athletes cannot be compared. And lastly a traditional family structure issue is noticeable behind the female athlete’s identity construction, showing a traditional distribution of gender roles. Concluding, this study implies that the sport-media-commercial-complex is still applicable, reinforcing the hierarchical hegemonic masculinity structure within sport. Consequences are that female athletes have limitations when it comes to the construction of their identity, what makes that they come out as inferior compared to male athletes. Subsequently, dominating institutions as well as cultural beliefs sanction this position, although one solution to escape the disqualifying gender mark is when another identity position as nationality is offered. Since sport can be seen as microcosm of social life, one could argue that the hierarchical hegemonic masculinity structure is still leading in a western democratic society partly due to the current PR practices within sport. (Less)
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author
Aning, Nienke LU
supervisor
organization
course
SKPM08 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
social constructionism, identity construction, hegemonic masculinity, female athletes, case study
language
English
id
8893459
date added to LUP
2018-01-10 09:09:39
date last changed
2018-01-10 09:09:39
@misc{8893459,
  abstract     = {Looking from a PR perspective, sport can be seen as a microcosm of social life, and be used to reveal underlying values as power relations in society. This qualitative case study concerned itself with the social identity construction of female athletes and the effect of social change on this identity, in order to analyse gender issues in society. While taking a constructionist approach, the theoretical foundation of this research lies within identity construction, gender issues and hegemonic masculinity. By means of content analyses and semi-structured interviews, the identity construction of the Dutch women’s volleyball team is analysed. Results reveal that international success implies a shift in identity showing that once the athletes become winners they are no longer female anymore but Dutch. Further, a double standard is imposed by the media resulting in female athletes having to meet male’s expectations while at the same time media realises female and male athletes cannot be compared. And lastly a traditional family structure issue is noticeable behind the female athlete’s identity construction, showing a traditional distribution of gender roles. Concluding, this study implies that the sport-media-commercial-complex is still applicable, reinforcing the hierarchical hegemonic masculinity structure within sport. Consequences are that female athletes have limitations when it comes to the construction of their identity, what makes that they come out as inferior compared to male athletes. Subsequently, dominating institutions as well as cultural beliefs sanction this position, although one solution to escape the disqualifying gender mark is when another identity position as nationality is offered. Since sport can be seen as microcosm of social life, one could argue that the hierarchical hegemonic masculinity structure is still leading in a western democratic society partly due to the current PR practices within sport.},
  author       = {Aning, Nienke},
  keyword      = {social constructionism,identity construction,hegemonic masculinity,female athletes,case study},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The social construction of the female athlete’s identity: A case study of the Dutch national women’s volleyball team.},
  year         = {2016},
}