2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture
Thursday, November 1 • 4:30pm - 5:30pm
New Materialism in Sport Sociology: Where to Now

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#Digital space invaders: Muslim sportswomen use of digital technologies to negotiate sporting cultural identities

Social media are important technologies affecting the lived experiences, identities, politics and consumption practices of athletes and sports fans (Hutchins & Mikosza, 2010). This paper offers fresh insights into the ways Muslim sportswomen are using social media. It draws upon an eight-month-long digital ethnography of 26 different social media accounts across four different platforms (SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and interviews with 20 Muslim sportswomen. In this presentation, I share one key theme emerging from this research, particularly how Muslim sportswomen are using social media to represent different aspects of their sporting identities and challenge sporting and cultural rules and norms in digital spaces. In so doing, I elaborate on Nirmal Puwar’s discussion of ‘space invaders’ (2004) to explain how Muslim sportswomen are navigating their social, cultural and religious identities and ‘invading’ digital spaces through culturally-calculated forms of self-representation. In particular, I discuss how they are using hashtags (#) in strategic ways, and share their decision-making in representing their sporting lives in socially, culturally and religious-specific ways. In revealing the various forms of digital agency and politics employed by Muslim sportswomen, my findings challenge dominant discourses of Muslim women in need of ‘saving’ (Abu-Lughod, 2002), Furthermore, this paper adds to current literature on sportswomen’s use of social media (e.g., Toffoletti & Thorpe, 2018a, 2018b) by bringing in the voices and experiences of Muslim women.


David Andrews

University of Maryland
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avatar for Joshua Newman

Joshua Newman

Professor, Florida State University
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Jim Denison, PhD

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Richard Pringle

Monash University
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Holly Thorpe

University of Waikato
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Pirkko Markula

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Medical research has demonstrated that older adults typically have reduced muscle mass, less muscle strength and endurance, and aerobic power than young people (e.g., Keogh & Al, 2009). In addition, aging women, particularly, run a risk of osteoporosis characterized by increased bone... Read More →

Thursday November 1, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm PDT
Georgia A