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Challenge and relief : a Foucauldian disciplinary analysis of retirement from professional association football in the United Kingdom

Jones, Luke; Denison, Jim


The aim of this study was to consider the retirement experiences of British male professional Association footballers by utilising Foucault’s (1991) analysis of discipline discussed in Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison. Specifically, we drew upon Foucault to consider how, through the various techniques and instruments of discipline, the professional football context produces ‘docile footballing bodies’ and how this might influence a player’s experiences in retirement. We gathered our empirical material using a Foucauldian-informed interview framework (Avner et al., 2013) with 25 former professional male football players between the ages of 21-34. Our analysis suggested that retirement from football was both a challenge and a relief for our participants, and that their extended period of time within football’s strong disciplinary apparatus significantly influenced how they experienced their retirement.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2017-12
Journal International review for the sociology of sport
Print ISSN 1012-6902
Electronic ISSN 1461-7218
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 52
Issue 8
Pages 924-939
Keywords Discipline; Docility; Football; Foucault; Sport retirement
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©2016 University of Hull
Additional Information This is the author's accepted manuscript of an article which has been accepted for future publication in: International review for the sociology of sport.


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