Anthropology of sport is an emerging research area for Dr. Brian Joseph Gilley of the University of Vermont. His research narrows in on the ways body culture in professional road cycling articulates with transnational sporting tradition and business. In particular, he is concentrating on the surveillance of bodily movement (inspired by the work of Henning Eichberg, a famous cultural sociologist) by the cycling sports industry. This research includes investigations into the ways cyclists manage their bodies and the ways specific forms of bodily movement are endorsed by the cycling sports industry (fortunately or unfortunately).
Attached below are 4 pages from a paper of Dr. Gilley's focusing in on the culture of the cycling sport. Titled Cyclist Subjectivity: Corporeal Management And The Inscription Of Suffering, it suggests that to deconstruct cycling discourse is to reveal the mechanisms of an unquestioned set of values governing individual bodies. Dr. Gilley seeks to answer where these values came from and highlights a picture for us where the political economy of cycling and techniques of corporeal management are all surrounded on one thing - the individual cyclist's body.
After you have finished reading, you can engage in a discussion here with me on issues of the body culture in our sport. This is an interesting topic and some questions ring in my mind for you people across the world. Questions such as the following :
Has our "established" values and systems of cycling body culture (that you see on TV, read about, or hear from other people) forced you to do some things with your body that you would otherwise not have done had you not been a cyclist?
Have you been pressured to dope? Have you starved yourself or lost an unhealthy amount of weight to stay with the weekend group ride or gain that addition in your power to weight ratio? Have you lost out in a relationship where your partner wouldn't accept you spending so much time and energy training, and on top of it all, looking gaunt and weary in parties and other social events because of this training? Do you think there's a stigma in your country or culture around "thin" because "thin" is considered inferior? Have you lost a job because your boss thought you look unhealthy and not suited for the task and you reached that state due to your cycling activities? Are you always in the widely popular mindset of "ride strong, ride fast, take risks" that you get yourself involved in unnecessary crashes and injuries which, of course, risk your health?
C'mon, let's talk! Anything is possible on this blog!
ADDITIONAL READING :
Overemphasizing Power To Weight Ratio