Pacific participation in Aotearoa/Niu Sila Netball: body image, family, church, culture, education and physical education

Sport Recreation Body image New Zealand

This thesis explores the netball experiences of a selection of people residing in Aotearoa/Niu Sila who have participated or continued to participate in netball. Adopting an inter-disciplinary approach, it sheds a light on the broader socio-cultural and political factors that have influenced and shaped Pacific women's experiences of netball. In particular, this research investigates how Pacific women negotiate and grapple with the following aspects of their lived experiences: family, church, culture, education, physical education, sport and body image in relation to their participation in the sport of netball. The information for this study was gleaned from primary and secondary sources and in-depth interviews with 18 current and former netball participants. Case studies of media representation of the body shape alongside the participants' voices were utilised to illustrate the ways Pacific women have begun to mirror Western norms for beauty, the contingent nature of normative body ideals, and the ways non-normative bodies are regarded as 'projects of remediation and the minimal currency that strong muscular women's bodies' hold within a Western aesthetic. The participants' words have been integrated throughout from Chapter Four onwards because I wanted to move away from the traditional literature review, method, results, and discussion structure. As a result, the participants' testimonies have been brought alongside current literature, as opposed to being used as a 'results to add' to current literature in a positivistic sense. Exploring Pacific women's netball experiences in relation to family, church, culture, education, physical education, sport and body image, provides unique insights into the nature and dynamics of netball in Aotearoa/Niu Sila, shifting social constructions of femininity and Pacific women's sporting identities, as well as Pacific women's unique and diverse experiences and understandings of their participation.

Publication Details