Masculinities, sport and power: A critical comparison of Gramscian and Foucauldian inspired theoretical tools

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Although feminists have increasingly found Foucauldian theorising effective for examining issues associated with female sport and exercise contexts, the Gramscian-inspired concept of masculine hegemony remains dominant in masculinities research. This article compares and contrasts the theoretical tools stemming from the writings of Gramsci and Foucault with respect to their use for examining sport and masculinities. It is argued that it is troublesome to combine Foucauldian and Gramscian concepts without acknowledging fundamental theoretical differences. Questions of concern are also discussed with respect to how the concept of hegemonic masculinity has been used in studies of sport and masculinities. It is suggested that the concept of masculine hegemony does not simply refer to a dominant form of masculinity but is underpinned by particular understandings of power that some may find problematic. The conclusion discusses how Foucauldian theorising could be advantageous for future examinations of sport and masculinities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-278
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Sport and Social Issues
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2005


  • Discourse
  • Foucault
  • Gramsci
  • Hegemonic masculinities
  • Power

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