Pleasure and danger: A running-woman in ‘public’ space

Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health (2022)
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The French existentialist philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir, long ago signalled the potentially empowering force of outdoor exercise and recreation for women, drawing on feminist phenomenological perspectives. Feminist phenomenological research in sport and exercise, however, remains relatively scarce, and this article contributes to a small, developing research corpus by employing a feminist phenomenological theoretical framework to analyse lived experiences of running in ‘public’ space. As feminist theorists have argued, such space is gendered and contested, and women’s mobility remains constrained by fears of harassment and violent attack. Running also generates intense pleasure, however, and embodied empowerment. Drawing on findings from two separate but linked automethodological running research projects, here I explore salient and overlapping themes cohering around lived experience of pleasure and danger in both urban and rural spaces.

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