Power, consent and resistance: An autoethnography of competitive rowing

Laura Purdy*, Paul Potrac, Robyn Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


This study builds upon existing socio-cultural work into sports coaching by probing the meanings and varieties of the shared coach-athlete experience. Specifically, the paper utilises an autoethnographic approach in an attempt to chart the complex and dynamic relationship that existed between me, the principal author, as a rowing coxswain and my coach during the preparation for a national rowing championship. Data were drawn from a training diary, emails (both sent and received) and memories during the six months I spent with Coach. The data are presented through three separate yet inter-related stories. Here, the plot of the tale hinges on the tension between my personal perceptions of effective coaching and those employed by Coach. The findings are principally theorised through Nyberg's and Giddens' concepts of power and resistance, as a fruitful relationship between Coach and me (and the crew) soon turned into a dysfunctional one. The conclusion emphasises the importance of recognising the power-ridden nature of coaching and the value of the autoethnographic genre in exploring it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-336
Number of pages18
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number3
Early online date22 Jul 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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