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Game Changer

The Technoscientific Revolution in Sports

Rayvon Fouché

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How has technology challenged the notion of unadulterated athletic performance?

We like to think of sports as elemental: strong bodies trained to overcome height, weight, distance; the thrill of earned victory or the agony of defeat in a contest decided on a level playing field. But in Game Changer, Rayvon Fouché argues that sports have been radically shaped by an explosion of scientific and technological advances in materials, training, nutrition, and medicine dedicated to making athletes stronger and faster. Technoscience, as Fouché dubs it, increasingly gives the edge (however slight) to the…

How has technology challenged the notion of unadulterated athletic performance?

We like to think of sports as elemental: strong bodies trained to overcome height, weight, distance; the thrill of earned victory or the agony of defeat in a contest decided on a level playing field. But in Game Changer, Rayvon Fouché argues that sports have been radically shaped by an explosion of scientific and technological advances in materials, training, nutrition, and medicine dedicated to making athletes stronger and faster. Technoscience, as Fouché dubs it, increasingly gives the edge (however slight) to the athlete with the latest gear, the most advanced training equipment, or the performance-enhancing drugs that are hardest to detect.

In this revealing book, Fouché examines a variety of sports paraphernalia and enhancements, from fast suits, athletic shoes, and racing bicycles to basketballs and prosthetic limbs. He also takes a hard look at gender verification testing, direct drug testing, and the athlete biological passport in an attempt to understand the evolving place of technoscience across sport.

In this book, Fouché:

• Examines the relationship among sport, science, and technology
• Considers what is at stake in defining sporting culture by its scientific knowledge and technology
• Provides readers and students with an informative and engagingly written study

Focusing on well-known athletes, including Michael Phelps, Oscar Pistorius, Caster Semenya, Usain Bolt, and Lance Armstrong, Fouché argues that technoscience calls into question the integrity of games, records, and our bodies themselves. He also touches on attempts by sporting communities to regulate the use of technology, from elite soccer's initial reluctance to utilize goal-line technology to automobile racing's endless tweaking of regulatory formulas in an attempt to blur engineering potency and reclaim driver skill and ability. Game Changer will change the way you look at sports—and the outsized impact technoscience has on them.

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Game Changer

Rayvon Fouché

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Reviews

Reviews

Mr Fouché makes important points about sport’s growing grey areas

The text is an interesting exploration into the obsession with sports and the influence of what the author calls the "technoscientific revolution." There is no discussion of the specific science and technology that undergird the tremendous changes. Recommended. all readers.

Game Changer offers a fine introduction to complex questions raised by the application of science and technology to athletic competition. Where does the athlete stop and the technology begin? This and a host of other issues should spark debate in upper-division and graduate courses in sociology, ethics, American Studies, and sports history.

Game Changer is not an easy read. The analysis and arguments are delivered in all of their complexity. The use of technical language and academic jargon will put off many non-specialists, but if you have the patience to slog through those passages, you will be rewarded. This is an important and thought provoking book and sheds light on the past, while anticipating the future technological leaps that will further blur the line between the athlete and the performance.

Fouche’s Game Changer provides important and original insights and understandings and is highly recommended reading for scholars within the social sciences and humanities of sport and of technoscience, and, more generally, for all those with an interest in the current status and future of sport.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
272
ISBN
9781421421797
Illustration Description
8 halftones, 4 line drawings
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Sports, Bodies, and Technoscience
1: Black is the New Fast: Swimsuit Technoscience and the Recalibration of Elite Swimming
2: Gearing up for the Game: Equipment as a Shaper

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Sports, Bodies, and Technoscience
1: Black is the New Fast: Swimsuit Technoscience and the Recalibration of Elite Swimming
2: Gearing up for the Game: Equipment as a Shaper of Sport
3: Disabled, Superabled, or Normal: Oscar Pistorius and Physical Augmentation
4: "I Know One When I See One": Sport and Sex Identification in an Age of Gender Mutability
5: The Parable of a Cancer Jesus: Lance Armstrong and the Failure of Direct Drug Testing
6: "May I See Your Passport?": The Athlete Biological Passport as a Technology of Control
Conclusion: Body/Motor/Machine: The Future of Technology and Sport
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Rayvon Fouché
Featured Contributor

Rayvon Fouché

Rayvon Fouché is an assistant professor in the department of science and technology studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.