Gender Mainstreaming

Theorizing Gender in the Context of Sport—The Construction of Women’s Sports Studies within Feminist Paradigm

Xiong Huan
South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, Guangdong China
China Sport Science 2014-7

Abstract:Based on literature review, this article compares the traditionally sociological research paradigms: positivist paradigm, radical critique, neo-Marxist paradigm, social definition paradigm, cultural studies paradigm, and their interpretations on women and gender relations in the context of sport. By rethinking and criticizing the limitation of these research paradigms to the studies of women’s sport, it introduces feminist paradigm, which is designed for doing research on behalf of women’s own characteristics and interests. This research paradigm attempts to reconstruct women’s sports studies through epistemology, methodology and theories that related to feminism:1)epistemologically, it requires feminist sports studies to answer “what the sports knowledge is for” but not “what the sports knowledge is”, which question should be the starting point of doing feminist sports research;2)methodologically, it requires feminist sports studies, on the women’s standing points, to rediscover the real gender power relations through exploring the concrete, detailed and real experiences and feelings of women in the specific context of sport;3)theoretically, feminists sports studies should avoid observing and interpreting women’s sports phenomenon and meanings by using men-centered sports knowledge and theoretical perspectives. New sport theories for women should be developed through empirical studies and it is the direction as well as the forces to the further development of women’s sport studies.
Keywords:feminism, sports sociology, research paradigm, epistemology, methodology, theory

Paper type:Published