Many congratulations to Sport and Fitness Senior Lecturer, Jessica Pinchbeck for recently passing her PhD viva with just minor modifications.
A summary of Jess’s PhD thesis:
“It’s more than just playing a sport”. A socio-cultural analysis of participation in netball across the lifespan.
This thesis followed the journey of a small sample of women from one netball club located in the East of England to provide an insightful analysis into their childhood experiences of sport, exploring the extent to which this may have shaped their adult participation and the complexities of this connection. The study was conducted from an interpretivist perspective and used an ethnographic approach to examine how the women think and act in different situations, and how this develops over time as a result of previous experiences. These women and their experiences are not viewed in isolation but examined and studied in the wider context and alongside relationships in which their sports experiences have been socially constructed. Bourdieu’s (1984) theory of practice examines the extent to which social processes influence the behaviours, tastes, and judgements of individuals. This approach provides a valuable theoretical lens through which to view the sociocultural context of the women’s historical childhood experiences of sports participation alongside their current sports participation.
Findings show support for the formation of a habitus towards sports participation developed throughout childhood which has endured into adulthood. The women’s habitus persists as a significant influence on their lives, demonstrated in the drive and passion to negotiate their netball participation, which can sometimes cause friction and tension in the women’s relationships. Subtle changes are evident in the behaviour and dispositions of the women as they enter different stages of their lives and also as their skill level in the sport increases. Habitus, developed throughout their childhood, influences the women’s tastes and socialises them into ways of behaving, however, their behaviour is also shaped and influenced by social structures. This study provides a unique connection of past and present to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of female sports participation.
Jess has completed her PhD part time alongside her full-time roll with the OU Sport and Fitness team. She was supervised by Dr Sam Murphy, Dr Martin Toms and Dr Alex Twitchen.
Congratulations to Dr Pinchbeck and all her supervisors!