• • • Research

My research examines the various ways that power operates within physical culture in Canada, examining the effects of Canadian media representations of sport, fitness, and physical activity on the lives of those who participate in these athletic endeavours. In my work, I pay particular attention to how individuals construct, understand, and challenge dominant expressions of identity – including identities associated with gender, ethnicity, race, age, and nation.

For the past several years, I have examined what it means when Canadian culture makers present Canada, both to Canadians and others, as a nation that plays hockey. I have examined how Canadian hockey-style masculinity (a style of play predicated on roughness and physical aggression, as well as the disavowal of all things feminine), impacts the ways non-North American players competing in the CHL are understood by their North American counterparts. I have studied the ways that this style of appropriate masculinity has been linked to representations of Canadian hockey icon Sidney Crosby and expressed through CBC’s Coach’s Corner broadcasts with Don Cherry.

Building on this work I am now investigating the experiences of women in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), examining the various ways that women, in their roles as mothers and CHL employees, work to reproduce and/or challenge dominant ideas of masculinity.

I am also completing a research project (with Dr. Barbara Marshall, Trent University) examining the relationships between gender, embodied aging, and fitness. This project studies how men and women over the age of 50 years of age come to understand their bodies through leisure fitness activities – such as non-competitive bike riding, working out at local fitness centres, and engaging in recreational team sports.

My latest research, conducted with Dr. Barbara Marshall, examines a shift in representations of Canadian men who curl. We are examining what we believe to be a shift in appropriate masculine expression within the sport of curling: where once the Canadian media celebrated curlers as older men (often fathers and even grandfathers) who enjoyed an after match beer, now the media celebrates curlers as youthful and athletic men with lean muscular bodies.  We are particularly interested in the impacts of this shift on older men who curl.