• • • The Curling Project

We don’t see ourselves as curlers anymore, but as athletes – Ryan Harnden, Team Brad Jacobs (Dettman & Stroumboulopoulos, 2014, March 7)

The past few years have witnessed a shift in idealized expressions of Canadian curling masculinity. In men’s elite-level curling the Canadian public has seen a movement from the celebration of curlers as older athletes marked by maturity and conviviality who enjoy an after match beer, to the celebration of curlers as serious athletes who focus on their bodies (like other elite-level athletes) and are committed to fitness and nutrition. The Canadian public has seen a turn in national representations of curlers where once curling bodies were celebrated as the rather ordinary bodies of parents, and sometimes even grandparents, to a new focus on youth, muscularity, and fitness. Curling, as a quintessentially Canadian sport, importantly celebrated a different sense of masculine embodiment than Canadian sports like hockey and lacrosse. This study examines this seeming change in the dominant identity of the sport and the impact of it on the structure of the sport and men who curl.

This project explores the following questions:

1.     How are men who curl represented in the Canadian press? How (and why) has this changed in recent years?

2.     What are the impacts of these representations on the structure of Canadian curling and the embodiment of older men who participate in the sport? 

This work was recently featured as part of the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation's R3: Innovations in Aging conference. Please have a look at our brief talk: https://youtu.be/fhkxrsNgeAE

Please have a look at a blog post in International Network for Critical Gerontology covering this work: http://criticalgerontology.com/curling-youthful-turn/