HART team member, Dr. Adam Evans, was recently awarded an honourable mention for his paper submitted to this year’s European Association for the Sociology of Sport Young Researcher award.
The paper, which focuses upon the embodied experiences of aquatic physical activity amongst ‘clients’ diagnosed with schizophrenia. A Foucauldian theoretical framework guided analysis. Two central themes emerged from the data relating to clients’ perceived barriers to participation, and to the centrality of the body in clients’ experiences. Clients were cognizant of their status as ‘patients’ within discourses of both mental and physical health, and felt reliant upon health professionals for treatment, support and guidance. This made interactions with others difficult. Whereas clients descriptions of their body outside the pool were often related to medication, body weight or poor health, descriptions of embodied experiences whilst swimming instead focused upon positive emotions, such as relaxation, peacefulness and self-awareness. Clients also felt empowered to make their own decisions within the pool environment, which was considered beyond the medical gaze.
Dr. Evans will look to publish the paper in the near future.