Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Servicing sport: The incorporation of women's labour for the maintenance and reproduction of a social institution

Thompson, Shona Mary (1994) Servicing sport: The incorporation of women's labour for the maintenance and reproduction of a social institution. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Whole Thesis
Available Upon Request


This dissertation investigates how women’s labour services and reproduces the institution of sport. The research is a feminist, sociological analysis based on qualitative data derived from semi-structured interviews with forty-six, mostly middle class women of Anglo origins in Western Australia. The women interviewed were grouped according to their various, frequently overlapping, relationships to one sporting code: tennis. They are mothers of junior tennis players, domestic partners/wives of adult male tennis players and women who are themselves long-term players of the sport. Collectively they provide an overview of the multiple ways women’s labour contributes to the sport and show how this mulitiplicity can strengthen the ideological foundations on which the contribution is made.

The demands on women’s labour made by the sport of children and husbands are analysed, along with the consequences of this to the construction of women’s everyday lives. The ways in which this labour is marginalised and denied are also discussed. The conditions by which family members play tennis are contrasted with those under which women themselves participate.

The research illustrates how women’s greater responsibility for childcare and domestic work provides the basis for their incorporation into servicing roles. To explain this, capitalist and patriarchal divisions of labour, the institution and ideologies of motherhood and heterosexual relations of marriage are discussed. It is hypothesised that Australian sport is maintained by these specific gendered relations which are further reproduced by its institutionalised practises.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Macbeth, Jim and Thiele, Beverly
Item Control Page Item Control Page