Technology and the Leisure Class

It is important to recognize the class dimension as it pertains to RFID-assisted sport. For example, let us consider marathons or triathlons and the mass of participants that swell their ranks: we should note that these leisure pursuits are predominantly the domain of the upper-middle class in "advanced" post-industrial economies—those who possess not only the means to pay for entry fees or purchase the expensive equipment (footwear, vehicles) required to participate, but also the vast amounts of discretionary time required to train for these events, since one does not enter on a whim.

For this reason, we must be wary of the technological normalizing process that sport may facilitate across class dimensions. If upper-middle class runners read today's story about Halifax offenders being required to wear electronic tracking bracelets and GPS recording devices, they may not recognize that this is the same technology they wear on weekends and that the two implementations (criminal, ludic) serve the same purpose. Or worse, a cognitive association is made, but it misses the political dimension involved since it is one of play: "I wear one of those when I run in races … how can that be a bad thing?"


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