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Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication



Major Advisor

erin d. mcclellan, Ph.D.


John G. McClellan, Ph.D.


Christina L. Ivey, Ph.D.


Discourse shapes the way that we are able to know both others and our self. It can present options for shaping our identity we may not otherwise have experienced or know about. When we focus on becoming a singular subject position rather than a complex human being we limit the possibility to move fluidly among many different subject positions. In the process we normalize an ideal version of being that discounts alternative possibilities and treats identity as a static category. One grand scale Discourse in society today provides American society, in particular, with a fixed notion of how to “be” an athlete. By employing an autoethnographic approach, I weave together my own narratives to demonstrate the inherent limitations that athletes face, and the real effects of this dominant Discourse each individual athlete must face. I use these stories to further evoke an understanding of how alternative discourses of athlete can create new possibilities for imagining who, what, an "athlete" can be. By evoking the power of stories through bricolage, I show how alternative discourses can successfully resist fixed idealized subject positions like athlete. By highlighting the problematic effects faced by athletes over their lifespan, I hope to encourage this in attempt to disrupt the way we think about identity formation and invite individuals to reimagine what they do or accomplish. How we are able to create and foster such spaces can create new possibilities for negotiating individual identity in more fluid ways across all types of subject positions.