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Reading John Grisham’s Bleachers with Foucault: Lessons for sports retirement

Jones Jonzon, Luke


Dr Luke Jones Jonzon
Lecturer in Sports Coaching/ Collaborative provision - academic contact for local partner colleges


This paper explores how a sociological reading of John Grisham’s (2003) short work of fiction Bleachers can shed light on the complexities of the coaching and sports retirement processes. The aim of this paper was to explore the “sociological insights” that Bleachers has to offer by reading the novel in companionship with the thoughts of French post-structuralist thinker Michel Foucault (1995), specifically his disciplinary analysis from Discipline and Punish. I have also observed how the figure of Coach Eddie Rake in Bleachers can be considered as trope for retired athletes’ unresolved feelings towards their former sport. In achieving these aims, this paper has considered how Bleachers, when read through a sociological lens, can act as a meaningful data source for those invested in learning more about the poorly understood phenomena of sports retirement, as well as the dangers of coaching practices that are overly reliant upon the disciplinary logic of sport.


Jones Jonzon, L. (in press). Reading John Grisham’s Bleachers with Foucault: Lessons for sports retirement. Sports Coaching Review,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 25, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 7, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 27, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 8, 2020
Print ISSN 2164-0629
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Sports fiction; Discipline; Docility; Sports retirement; Foucault
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