Cohesive Narratives: Dissolving Aotearoa/New Zealand's Heroines of Water

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McLachlan, Fiona (2009) Cohesive Narratives: Dissolving Aotearoa/New Zealand's Heroines of Water. The International Journal of the History of Sport , 26 (14). pp. 2143-2159. ISSN 0952-3367 (print) 1743-9035 (online)


In this paper, the biographical sporting narratives produced about a selection of New Zealand’s most successful women swimmers are interrogated and analyzed. It is argued that biographical narratives, ironically, pay insufficient attention to the complexity and fluidity of ‘character’. As such, it is suggested that the interrogation of fictional characters is a useful way of exploring the cultural conditions of possibility which shape the (re)production of sporting heroines. To this end, the narrative of a fictional swimmer, Alex, is compared and contrasted to the biographical sports narratives of New Zealand women swimmers, and the untapped political possibilities of a fictional sports heroine are discussed.

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Special Issue: Australasia and the Pacific

Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > FOR Classification > 2002 Cultural Studies
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Keywords ResPubID25123, women’s sport, femininity, individualist, competitive swimmers, sporting narrative, gender order
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