Humanization in high performance sport

Authors: Brady, A. and Kavanagh, E.

Conference: International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport

Dates: 19-23 July 2012


Background: It is crucial to explore issues associated with athletes’ experiences in the pursuit of excellence which have been criticised for promoting the technological deconstruction and dehumanization of performers (Hoberman, 1992). It is proposed here, that it is only when the athlete is considered as a whole person and their humanness recognised that s/he is most likely to thrive and flourish within and beyond sport. Aim: The purpose of the present paper is to introduce a framework for recognising practices associated with humanization and dehumanization in high performance (HP) sport. The intention is that the presentation will raise many questions about praxis and discourses in high performance sport Method / Findings: The paper introduces a values framework for supporting humanisation in HP sport based upon the work of Todres, Galvin and Holloway (2009) who applied it in a healthcare setting. Both humanizing and dehumanizing aspects of HP sport have been examined through the eight principle continua proposed by Todres et al. (2009) which include; Insiderness - Objectification; Agency - Passivity; Uniqueness - Homogenization; Sense of place - Dislocation; Togetherness - Isolation Sense-making - Loss of Meaning; Personal Journey - Loss of Personal Journey; Embodiment - Reductionist body. Evidence to support claims of humanizing and dehumanizing discourses and practices is drawn from both primary and secondary data from athletes across a range of professional, Olympic and Paralympic sports. Discussion The humanization framework provides a useful tool with which to scaffold critical reflection, understand practices in high performance sport and explore the impact of these practices upon athletes. Unlike a standard empirical paper, the following presentation uses images and music to convey ideas associated with the framework's principles.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Emma Kavanagh