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Performance Technologies: Reading Athletic Enhancementby Tara Magdalinski
Synopses & Reviews
What is the nature of athletic performance? This book offers an answer to this fascinating question by considering the relationship between sport, technology and the body. Specifically, it examines cultural resistance to the enhancement of athletes and explores the ways in which performance technologies complicate and confound our conception of the sporting body.
The book addresses concerns about the technological invasion of the natural body to investigate expectations that athletic performances reflect nothing more than the actual capacity of the untainted athlete. By examining a series of case studies, including Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, Fastskin swimsuits, hypoxic chambers and an array of illicit substances and methods, the book distinguishes between internal and external technologies to highlight the ways that performance enhancement, and public reaction to it, can be read.
Sport, Technology and the Body offers a powerful challenge to conventional views of athletic performance that stand authenticity against artifice, integrity against corruption, and athletic purity against technological intrusion. It is essential reading for all serious students of the sociology, culture or ethics of sport.
Book News Annotation:
In a cultural analysis of performance technologies, Magdalinski (sports studies, U. College Dublin), describes how controversies surrounding banned substances and techniques reveal tension within a range of social identities. Performance enhancement in sport, she argues, has cultural and social implications and meaning beyond simply improving athletic output. She identifies and explores ideologies that are inscribed onto sporting bodies, and analyses how performance technologies complicate and confound conventional conceptions of the athletic body. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Modern sport is a contradictory phenomenon; on the one hand an emphasis on winning and on citius, altius, fortius (faster, higher, stronger) makes the drive for improved performance paramount. Athletes, coaches and sports scientists constantly search for techniques, supplements or modifications that will deliver that elusive 'edge'. Yet at the same time, sport remains grounded in notions of 'fair play' and good health, a balance between body and mind.
The single-minded pursuit of achievement rests uneasily on these traditional foundations, and the application of technologies to the body has often been viewed with particular suspicion. This text explores the controversies associated with sport, technology and the body.
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History and Social Science » Sociology » General