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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Dr Martin Roderick

Roderick, M. (2014). From identification to dis-identification: case studies of job loss in professional football. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health 6(2): 143-160.

Author(s) from Durham


Taken from a broader study of the careers of professional footballers, this article uses two player stories of job loss to offer contrasting experiences of cynical dis-identification. I examine how in research on the careers of sports workers, athletes so often express discontent yet maintain an apparent dedication and commitment to their craft. In contrast to the overwhelming focus on the construction and shaping of workplace identity, this article introduces the notion of dis-identification to explain how athletes resist coach/managerial domination in an occupation in which high commitment is assumed by expressing cynical and instrumental attitudes to their jobs: cynical athletes dis-identify with dominant cultural prescriptions so as to distance themselves from ideological rhetoric, a process in which subjectivities are ‘externalised’. Although cynical athletes may feel like autonomous agents, nevertheless, they still perform managerial norms and rituals.