Bodies as Stories in Women's Flat Track Roller Derby Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Thompson, Elizabeth Ashley
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of American Studies, Folklore Program
  • As the fastest growing women's sport in the world, roller derby begins with the efforts of groups of everyday women. This paper explores the motivations and experiences of a roller derby league in the Triad region of North Carolina. Borrowing theories from performance studies, gender studies, and folklore and anthropology, this paper considers how participants shape, negotiate, transgress, and play with identity through three central concepts: community, performance, and body. Though roller derby participants come together to take part in a fast-paced, contact team sport, they talk of themselves as a distinct community, meaning their relationships extend beyond shared athletic practice. At the center of the roller derby experience is the way the roller derby community and emergent identities are enacted within and through shared athletic performance. Lastly, this paper considers how participants construct a skater owned-and-operated, women's space in order to critique, explore, and re/imagine the physical body.
Date of publication
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  • In Copyright
  • Cantwell, Robert
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2013

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