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As Fast as Possible Rather Than Well Protected Experiences of Football Clothes

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Author(s): Viveka Berggren Torell

Journal: Culture Unbound : Journal of Current Cultural Research
ISSN 2000-1525

Volume: 3;
Start page: 83;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Interviews | phenomenology | football clothes | conceptions of health | subjectivity

ABSTRACT
With Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological view that human beings ‘take in’ the world and experience themselves as subjects through their bodies as a starting point, players in both men’s and women’s teams, kit men, purchasing managers, sporting directors, and a coach from Swedish football clubs have been interviewed about their perceptions and experiences of football clothing. Since the body is both a feeling and knowing entity, clothes are seen as components of body techniques, facilitating or restricting body movements in a material way, but also as creators of senses, like lightness and security; in both ways, influencing the knowledge in action that playing football is. In this article, the content of the in-terviews is discussed in relation to health. When clothes are primarily related to a biomedical view that health means no injuries and illnesses, warm pants and shin guards are mentioned by players, who are rather ambivalent to both, since these garments counteract a feeling of lightness that is connected to the perception of speed. Players want to be fast rather than well protected. If clothes, instead, are interpreted as related to a broad conception of health, including mental, social, and physical components, the relation body–space-in-between–clothes seems to be an important aspect of clothing. Dressed in a sports uniform, unable to choose individual details, the feeling of subjectivity is related to wearing ‘the right-size’ clothes. Also new textile technology, like injury-preventing and speed-increasing tight compression underwear, is perceived by players based on feelings that they are human subjects striving for both bodily and psychological well-being.
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