The Philosophy of Sport: The Drama of Fitness Measurements

By Ajay Bains & Chayce Mindra
In which Ajay and Chayce lay bare an under-theorized drama at the heart of elite athletics:  the drama of measuring athletic skill, promise and capacity.   In this episode, created for a philosophy of science course in winter 2017, you’ll discover how Foucault’s insights into biopower illuminate the stakes of abstraction in the context of sports.

Fitness measurements add to the drama of sport by having set values about what is “acceptable” and “unacceptable” in an athlete’s performance– and this creates two very polarizing sides.  On one side, you have the “underdog,” and on the other, you have the “superstar”… and it is the battle between these two sides that gives sport its entertainment value and drama.

Additional & Suggested Resources

Dean, M. (2010). Governmentality: Power and rule in modern society. Sage publications.

Genel, K. (2006). The question of biopower: Foucault and Agamben. Rethinking Marxism18(1), 43-62.

Kuzmits, F. E., & Adams, A. J. (2008). The NFL combine: does it predict performance in the National Football League?. The Journal of strength & conditioning research22(6), 1721-1727.

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