Immersion

Marathon swimming, embodiment and identity

This book is about the extreme sport of marathon swimming. It provides insight into a social world about which very little is known, while simultaneously exploring the ways in which the social world of marathon swimming intersects and overlaps with other social worlds and configurations of power and identity. Drawing on extensive (auto) ethnographic data, Immersion explores the embodied and social processes of becoming a marathon swimming and investigates how social belonging is produced and policed. Using marathon swimming as a lens, this foundation provides a basis for an exploration of what constitutes the ‘good’ body in contemporary society across a range of sites including charitable swimming, fatness, gender and health. The book argues that the dominant representations of marathon swimming are at odds with its lived realities, and that this reflects the entrenched and limited discursive resources available for thinking about the sporting body in the wider social and cultural context. It argues that in spite of these constraints, novel modes of embodiment and pleasure seep out between the cracks of those entrenched understandings and representations, highlighting the inability of the dominant understandings of sporting embodiment to account for experiences of immersion. This in turn opens up spaces for resistance and alternative accounts of embodiment and identity both within and outside of marathon swimming.

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‘Throsby's own experiences ground the book and provide relatable entry points to her academic work. Throughout Immersion, which addresses all aspects of being a marathon swimmer from the initial becoming one to the politics of the bodies that ratify swims, Throsby seamlessly intersperses journal entries and field notes about her own swimming. It was during her unflinchingly honest self-assessment passages that I felt like I could have been reading my own swimming biography. Her lovely use of imagery and language in theses vignettes sucks the reader in with an anecdotal punch, from which she transitions to a more 30,000-foot view of the sport in general, contextualizing her powerful personal experiences.'
Elaine K. Howley
h2open Magazine
October 2016

‘Her lovely use of imagery and language in theses vignettes sucks the reader in with an anecdotal punch, from which she transitions to a more 30,000-foot view of the sport in general, contextualizing her powerful personal experiences.'
Elaine K. Howley
h2open Magazine
October 2016

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