Revealing one’s body and speaking about one’s sport. Using photo elicitation with former top-level athletes

Research papers
By Marion Braizaz, Kevin Toffel, Amal Tawfik, Philippe Longchamp

What happens to the body habits of former top-level athletes? What “traces” do the different domains of socialization that they encounter leave on their bodies? This article reflects on the methodology of a survey that used photo elicitation during interviews to try to understand these individuals’ relationships with their bodies. It aims to shed some light on this investigative technique and to share the lessons learned about its use in the sociology of the body and, specifically, of sports. The first part presents how the dispositional perspective can be linked with this visual approach. Next, we examine the procedures used in our protocol, as well as their contributions to our approach. Finally, we describe the blurred delimitation of our corpus of images, linked to the fact that we had to recruit some of our subjects via social networks. We demonstrate the potential benefits to sociological analysis of bringing together photographs produced in different contexts of narrative description and recollection.

  • photo elicitation
  • dispositional perspective
  • body
  • sports
  • social network
Go to the article on