The last decade has seen an increase in the age of elite women’s gymnasts. This article examines the older gymnastic body within the field of elite women’s gymnastics, and how gymnasts, over the age of 20, and their coaches and judges, reconstruct the field in interview accounts. While participants contested the value of differently aged and sized bodies, they also made distinctions between the capitals that were valuable in different settings such as the competition setting, a gymnast’s usual training setting or a national training camp. In order to account for these differences, we combine the work of Pierre Bourdieu with that of Erving Goffman. We argue that Goffman’s emphasis on setting adds a level of specificity to Bourdieu’s claim that fields always exist as sites of struggle through providing a way to differentiate between different value systems that may co-exist within the same field.
Kerr, R., Barker-Ruchti, N., Nunomura, M., Cervin, G. R., & Schubring, A. (2016). The role of setting in the field: the positioning of older bodies in the field of elite women’s gymnastics. Sociology, 52(4), 727-743. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038516674676