An Embodied Challenge to Femininity as Disciplinary Power in the Contemporary American Young Adult Sports Novels

Rocío Riestra-Camacho


The goal of this paper is to investigate the role of disciplinary power regimes of femininity in sporting institutions depicted in sports fiction. With a renewed interest in analyzing sports practices as specifically gendered, this paper addresses how contemporary narratives’ deeper address of the affective encounters of characters has reconfigured the sports literary panorama. As represented in Miranda Kenneally’s novel, Coming Up for Air (2017), friendship poses a challenge to the institutionalized, parental and gendered bodily vulnerability of sports. The analysis reveals how the adolescent body is manageable but can also contest, in direct questioning of the interests of authority. Enjoying friendship in sports, eventually, reveals paths towards more inclusive (bodily) practices in them. Finally, this paper speaks of the fact that juvenile fiction, traditionally considered an archive of negative influence on young readers’ behaviors, can exercise the opposite effect too.


Article received: December 28, 2018; Article accepted: January 23, 2019; Published online: April 15, 2019; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Riestra-Camacho, Rocío. "An Embodied Challenge to Femininity as Disciplinary Power in the Contemporary American Young Adult Sports Novels." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 18 (2019): 65–77. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i18.295


YA fiction; sports fiction; contemporary American literature; disciplinary power; body; femininity; friendship; dietetics

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