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Men, Sport and Spinal Cord Injury: A Brief Commentary on Identity Dilemmas, Time, and the Narrative Construction of Coherence

By Brett Smith and Andrew C. Sparkes


The purpose of this chapter is to present a brief overview of findings to date\ud from a research project that focuses on the lived experiences of men in the\ud United Kingdom who have experienced spinal cord injury (SCI) through\ud playing rugby football union. Three fundamental themes to emerge from the\ud data that underpin the SCI experience are discussed. First, drawing on a\ud number of analytical concepts provided by others (eg. Charmaz, 1987; Frank,\ud 1995; Gerschick and Miller, 1995; Leder, 1990), the narrative identity\ud dilemmas associated with interrupted body projects for sporting men are\ud highlighted. Second, biographical data are utilised to illustrate the ways in\ud which time is framed and constructed within the restitution narrative as defined\ud by Frank (1995). Third, utilising the principles advocated by Gubrium and\ud Holstein (1998), we explore the manner in which coherence is constructed in\ud one of the narratives told.\ud The methodology underpinning this project has been described in detail\ud elsewhere (see Sparkes, 1998; Sparkes and Smith, 1999, in-press). However,\ud several points are worth mentioning. The chapter is derived from data collected\ud on fourteen Caucasian men who have all been heavily involved in rugby\ud football union, and each has experienced a SCI through playing this aggressive\ud contact sport. All were involved in confidential, thematic, informal, life history\ud interviews conducted in their homes by Brett Smith. All interviews were taperecorded,\ud transcribed, and analysed reflexively, utilising multiple types of\ud narrative analysis (see Lieblich, Tuval-Maschiach and Zilber, 1998; Sparkes,\ud 1999)

Topics: H1, RC1200, BF
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
Year: 2002
OAI identifier:

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