The Biopedagogical Potentials of Critically Exploring Intersex Concerns in the Sociology of Sports

Year: 2016

Author: Bromdal, Annette

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Although sports sociology students may be well acquainted with media headlines categorizing intersex bodies as ‘deviant’, ‘non-biological’, ‘different’ and/or ‘non-natural’ when reporting on their eligibility tests to compete in female elite sports, few are familiar with what these tests involve. Fewer would know when, how and why these eligibility tests came about and who the authors of these policies were. Drawing on Joe Kincheloe’s advocacy for critical pedagogy, Valerie Harwood’s notion of biopedagogy and Nikki Sullivan’s concept of somatechnics, this analysis seeks to unpack how athletes associated with this category cannot be understood as separate from the technologies and ‘authorities’ that mark and regulate their bodily representation. This analysis, which is based on personal teaching experience with pre-service physical educators in regional Queensland, tries to put critical biopedagogy into action through a social-activist-educator-ideology by encouraging future educators to develop a critical reading of such headlines and eligibility tests, and become comfortable with exploring ‘messy’ discourses challenging societal indoctrinations regulating and disciplining non-gender normative bodies and athletic abilities in female sports. My ambition is to inspire and encourage physical educators to take the ‘risk’ of engaging students in disruptive practices exploring the inscription of power to particular bodies and abilities in sports and how they are ethically implicated in these relations of power.