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The mind-field of sport : emotion, mind and accountability in athletes

Locke, Abigail (2001) The mind-field of sport : emotion, mind and accountability in athletes. Doctoral thesis, University of Loughborough.

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    Using a discursive psychological framework, this thesis provides an analysis of
    athletes accounting for sports performance. Traditionally, such work has been
    conducted under a cognitive sports psychological framework. This thesis challenges
    the mentalistic notions of such an approach, when looking at `emotion' and `mind',
    and instead examines their potential for accounting purposes.
    Drawing primarily on retrospective semi-structured interviews, with additional data
    provided from focus/discussion groups and media data, the thesis considers a number
    of interlinking analytical themes. These can be divided into two broad categories.
    The first focuses on the athletes' uses of mental concepts such as `mind' and
    `emotion' when accounting for performance. Rather than treating these invocations of
    mental states as `real' descriptions of the athletes' experiences, I consider the uses of
    such terms as embedded within narrative and used for accounting purposes. The
    athletes constructed the experience of emotion as normal for sports performance and
    claimed that it was needed to perform successfully. When looking at mind, the
    athletes invoked the strength of the mind as the difference between success and
    failure. Such invocations when accounting for success enabled the athletes to soften
    their agency for their good performance, thus demonstrating the embedded nature of
    such concepts within narrative.
    The second broad theme is closely linked with the first and examines the athletes'
    narratives of success and failure. I note how both accounting for success and failure
    are potentially problematic for the athletes. When narrating failure, the athletes have
    to delicately manage blame, stake and accountability. In contrast, when accounting for
    success, they have to manage their claims in the light of being seen as making
    immodest or arrogant claims. In addition, I note the relativity of the categories of
    success and failure. In conclusion, I examine the contributions of the thesis to three
    main areas of research, emotion theory, sports psychology, and discursive psychology.
    I argue that the explication of themes has demonstrated that mental concepts such as
    `emotion' and `mind', rather than being treated as separate and measurable entities,
    should be examined in the light of their discursive currency for accounting purposes.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID
    Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
    Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
    School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Applied Psychological Research
    School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Health and Social Care Research
    School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Research in the Social Sciences
    School of Human and Health Sciences > The Institute for Health Citizenship
    Related URLs:
    Depositing User: Sara Taylor
    Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2010 14:10
    Last Modified: 08 Nov 2011 10:00


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