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Access Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Sports Management

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

January 2008

Month Degree Awarded



gender, identity, women, sports, careers


With the passage of Title IX legislation women have gradually integrated a space that had been an exclusively male domain, simultaneously upsetting and renegotiating the traditional social arrangements found within it (Lipsyte, 1979; Adams, Schmitke, and Franklin, 2005). This integration is an ongoing process, impeded or smoothed by the cultural ideologies of the historical moment. Rather than being simply an athlete, the modifier of ‘female’ often carries with it expectations of behavior, appearance, and values that may be in conflict with those same expectations of ‘athlete.’ Thus, while social norms and attitudes as well as legal mandates may now clearly permit and facilitate female athletes’ entrance into that historically male space, one can still question the process through which young women reconcile potentially contradictory identities.

This thesis reports on a study of thirteen college-aged female athletes at two liberal arts colleges, that sought to understand the various identities they negotiate in settings such as on the field, in the classroom, and in the dorm. Using a poststructuralist framework for discourse analysis, this study explored the self-positions that subjects adopted and the conflicting discourses they utilized to reveal the multiple subjectivities the women take up in order to make sense of themselves and their lives.

First Advisor

Linda Smircich

Second Advisor

Todd Crosset