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

Gavin Weedon

Nottingham Trent University
The Nature of the Body in Sport and Physical Culture:  From “Sport and the Environment” to “Ecological Embodiment”

Athletic bodies are multispecies, ecological, and entangled in capital accumulation, health projects, and environmental crises. This version of corporeality, however, is not easily thought: an ongoing legacy of modernist, colonial thought inhibits our comprehension of the nature of the human body as a dynamic composition of other bodies--animal, vegetable, and mineral. Thus, much of the research on sport, physical culture and the environment conceives of sport as a cultural form that mitigates or, more commonly, exacerbates environmental issues. Such modes of analysis trade in a nature-culture dualism in which sport ‘takes place’ within or against the backdrop of an environment, prefigured as an external problem. Less frequently acknowledged, and more difficult to analyse, are the complex ways in which the production of healthy, fit, athletic bodies are embedded and sustained within multispecies ecologies: what we call “ecological embodiment.” Drawing on eco-feminist, Indigenous, and related philosophies, we explore the eco-politics of protein: a key actor in the production of athletic bodies. The aim is to demonstrate the ecological substance of corporeality and the corporeal substance of what is normatively termed “the environment” in studies of sport and physical culture. We conclude that despite the turn to embodiment in sport and physical culture, the nature of the body remains an imperative question.