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Female football players in England: examining the emergence of third-space narratives

Themen, K (2014) Female football players in England: examining the emergence of third-space narratives. Soccer and Society, 17. ISSN 1466-0970

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Abstract

This paper will examine the ways in which female football players negotiate and contest gender conventions practised in English football. I look at female participation through the application of Bhabha's 'third-space' thesis, and argue that Bhabha's work has utility in the context of this case study for understanding complexities and nuances ordinarily ignored by gendered discourse performed in English football culture. I utilize semi-structured interviewees with women who have or are still currently playing football across an age range of 17-45. I draw on a feminist 'standpoint' in order to attain critical narratives. Critiques arise in two key areas. Firstly, the impact of changes in governance under the Football Association. Secondly, the agency of players themselves to actively contest gender conventions, whether through playing football despite the negative connotations attached to female physicality, or through the provision of mixed football. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

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