Sport Spaces of Purification

Caroline Fusco, "The Space that (In)Difference Makes: (Re)Producing Subjectivities in/through Abjection - A Locker Room Theoretical Study" in Vertinsky and Bale (eds.), Sites of Sport: Space, Place, Experience (p.172):

Sweat, dirt and some bodily fluid excretions are celebrated in sport for they are a mark of a hard workout (and often a mark of masculinity). … Yet there is a point when all these fluids, excretions and dirt (if these are not expelled onto the ice and into the grass) have to be dealt with, particularly when they start to smell, linger on the athlete's body and mix with the fluids of others. This is when the (social) body is/may be pressed to send these uncanny corporeal fluids somewhere else. … While recognizing that there are social and hygienic reasons for dirt and bodily excrements to be cleaned away, the rites of purification that are engaged in in locker rooms, such as washing, wearing foot protection, avoiding soiled toilet seats and so on, not only protect against infection but protect the subject from becoming (materially and psychically) contaminated by polluting pseudo-objects (like sweat, hair, faeces and urine). They enable respectability and propriety to be (re)produced.


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