2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Brian Gearity

University of Denver
Science’s Rockstars and Dominant Discourses of Athletic Performance: How Sociology Can Help Us Think and Practice Differently

Merton (1968) coined the term Matthew Effect to show how a small group of scientists and their work reaped great rewards and captured our collective social attention. As Foucault’s work too demonstrates, dominant discourses result in certain ways of knowing and doing, and the reward system in science, and many powerful contemporary sporting organizations, reinforce this process. The sociology of sport has yet to provide a theoretical understanding of these issues within sport coaching and athletic performance. In this presentation, I draw upon Merton and Foucault’s theoretical toolkit to show who and how dominant scientific discourses (technology, physiology, biomechanics) in athletic performance have created our present consciousness. My goal is to inform our cultural praxis to understand and change it, therefore, I will also identify alternative scientists and their work that could inform our coaching and training practices. By creating this presentation that integrates science, theory, and practice, I hope to provide scholars, practitioners, and policymakers with a deep understanding of how to think and practice differently and progress our social world. This presentation offers a glimpse of how I intend to be an agent of social change, and dialogue on it will be facilitated during the presentation.