2012. Journal of Adolescent Research, 27(4), 427-448.
In this longitudinal ethnographic research, we report on 7 years of hazing rituals on two separate men’s sports teams at one university in the United Kingdom. Using 38 in-depth interviews alongside naturalistic observations of the initiation rituals, we demonstrate that hazing activities have changed from being centered around homophobic same-sex activities to focusing on extreme levels of alcohol consumption. We show that whereas same-sex activities once occurred paradoxically to prohibit them, today these initiations open up the possibility of same-sex behaviors for young men in the life stage of emergent adulthood.
2011. Journal of Homosexuality, 58(5), 664-679.
In this article, I present a new model for understanding homosexually-themed language. By detailing how old conceptualizations of homophobic language no longer maintain heuristic utility in explaining the social dynamics of many sport and educational settings, I situate other conceptualizations of homosexually-themed language depending on the cultural context. I argue that whether language is considered homophobic, or whether it is better conceptualized as fag discourse, gay discourse or pro-gay language, is primarily dependent on the homohysteria of a setting. This model should enable scholars and educators to understand the operation of homosexually-themed language in society, and properly evaluate the homophobia of a setting.
2010. Journal of Homosexuality, 57, 949-967.
This article examines the influence of the racial categories of white and black, and the sexual categories of gay and straight, on sporting American men. The effect of the intersection of these cultural categories is discussed by investigating the exclusion of athletes who are both black and gay, as well as highlighting the culturally perceived differences of (straight) black and (white) gay men. However, the analysis accounts for more than just difference, examining the commonalities of oppression between these discrete identity groups. We use the research on black athletes to call for further empirical study on gay athletes. It is argued that Critical Race Theory and intersectionality offer complex and nuanced understandings of these oppressions which, when theorizing is left solely to the realm of poststructuralism, can otherwise be missed.
2010. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 12(8), 913-927.
In this study, we draw on findings from one year of participant observation and 12 indepth interviews with men in a highly-ranked English university rugby team in order to nuance theoretical understandings concerning the re-production of homosexuallythemed discourse in organised sport. We use ethnographic data to theorise the complex relationship between language, homosocial masculine relationships and organised sport. In examining the political, intentional and inadvertent effects of these men’s discourses, we define and discuss the notion of gay discourse as a form of heteronormativity that is dissimilar to the traditional use of homophobic discourse. Highlighting that homosexually-themed discourse is best understood as a continuum, we stress the importance of context in interpreting the meaning and explicating the effects of this kind of discourse.
2010. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 29(3), 278-300.
This study examined how coaches and players constructed and regulated masculinity in organized sport. Using participant observation, the authors examined the role of discourses in the construction and regulation of sporting masculinity within a semiprofessional British football (soccer) team. Two predominant discourses were present: (a) masculinity establishing discourse and (b) masculinity challenging discourse—heuristic tools to understand the use of toxic language in the construction and maintenance of masculinity. Coaches frequently used discourses that drew on narratives of war, gender, and sexuality to facilitate aggressive and violent responses for enhancing athletic performance. However, the authors also found that these discourses have limited influence beyond the playing field, highlighting the segmentation of the sporting and social identities of these players and a loosening of the traditional and empirically evidenced ability of sports to socialize men into narrow forms of masculinity.
2010. Journal of Men’s Studies, 18(2), 145-158.
In this article, we examine the political stratifications of society by race and sexuality, and the processes by which sport helps subordinate members of each group. In applying social movement theory to gay and black men in sport, we highlight the historically similar patterns of oppression levied upon each group. We develop a four stage social movement theory model that may be useful in predicting the future patterns of homophobic discrimination, as openly gay athletes gain prominence in sport. We then discuss the intersectionality of race and sexuality with respect to sporting men, and argue that further research is necessary to understand the relatedness of these two seemingly disparate categories. Finally, we issue a political call for black sports leaders to actively participate in supporting the gay liberationist project.