McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Martin J. Packer
Autoethnography, Foucault, Gay, Identity, Sports, Volleyball
From September of 2004 until May of 2010, I was part of the SCVL, a gay volleyball league in Pittsburgh, PA. At the same time, I was a graduate student, working to advance my status within the Academy. In this study, I use autoethnography to talk about my experiences at the nexus of these two institutions: the SCVL and the Academy. I take the reader through a year in the life of the SCVL (2008-2009) and discuss ways in which its perennial practices contributed to my gay identity development. Well, sort of. It hasn't always been clear to me the processes at play in the constitution of my self, but I try to figure some of them out in this dissertation. At the same time, I experiment with writing so as to A) perform the kind of subject I have become (am becoming), and B) challenge taken-for-granted practices and beliefs of the Academy which serve to reinforce a hierarchical system that propagates the effects of domination--over research subjects as well as researchers. Along the way, I offer evaluative criteria for autoethnographic writing; I draw from Foucauldian theory to provide an archaeological, genealogical, and ethological look at gay volleyball culture; and I manage to evade veridical claims that would otherwise essentialize or reify gay identity. In the end, I argue for the benefits of gay sporting communities and call upon funding agencies to assist with the movement so as to improve the health and well-being of people marginalized for their non-conformity to gender or sexual norms.
Rickard, G. (2011). Gay identity formation: An (auto)ethnographic look at gay volleyball (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1103