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PhD (F/M):The gender of the refereeing body: profiles, careers and conditions of advancement of "jud

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General information

Reference : UMR5283-JULTHO-001
Workplace : ST ETIENNE
Date of publication : Monday, August 12, 2019
Scientific Responsible name : Christine Detrez and Julie Thomas
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 28 October 2019
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

The gender of the refereeing body: profiles, careers and conditions of advancement of "judges/referees" in 3 sports federations (handball, gymnastics and boxing).
Purposes : There is little academic study of arbitration, and it is even a blind spot in research on gender equality in sports federations. The project aims to sociologically study the careers of female and male referees in Hand-Ball, Gymnastics and Boxing: through the analysis of the three federations' speeches on the feminization of arbitration, and through the examination, by a mixed research method, of the profiles and careers of female and male referees, to understand the gender effects that can be found there. This doctoral research will also have an applied objective of providing these federations with objective elements to improve gender equality within them
Project description: "L'homme en noir": this expression, often used in the French media to designate sports referees, has a hard life, revealing that in the collective imagination referees are men. Quantitatively, reliable data are lacking to give an accurate picture of the gender distribution in sports arbitration, but its feminization still seems weaker than that of sports practice in most federations - as far as we know. Moreover, if the "feminization plan" - required since 2013 from the French sports federations by the French Ministry of Sport - includes the field of arbitration, it often remains the forgotten one, underinvested by the federations, and very little studied academically. However, given the centrality of the referee function in most sports competitions at all levels of performance, it seems essential to study their profiles and careers according to gender if one is to work towards a transformation of gender relations and gender equality in sports contexts.
The few French and international social science works on refereeing, and even more so on the feminization of refereeing, all focus solely on football, with very few exceptions. On the contrary, the thesis will be an opportunity to study the “refereeing body” of other French federations. The latter (FFHandBall, FFGymnastics, FFBoxe) are chosen for their differentiated feminizations (historical and current), and characteristics that can have a particularly interesting effect from a gender perspective. For example: in handball, the system of "pairs" of referees, stable over several sports seasons, and gender diversity: "pairs" of female referees regularly referees male players and vice versa, at any level of competition and directly on the playing field. In Gymnastics, the invisibility of the body of judges, far from the gymnastic apparatuses and whose pairing is not fixed according to the competitions. In boxing, the strong visibility and physical commitment of the referee; coupled, depending on the levels, with less visible off-field judges who however decide the outcome of the match.
The thesis aims, in each of these federations, to analyse the conditions of commitment, exercise and promotion of referees on the basis of a mixed research protocol (quantitative+qualitative): 1) history of the feminization policies of the 3 federations; 2) gendered comparison of careers between federations by ad-hoc questionnaires and biographical interviews; 3) ethnographies of matches and competitions, or even referee continuous training, to characterize the relations between referees and other sports actors, including instructors and evaluators.

Work Context

For laboratory work, the doctoral student will be required to work at the Centre Max Weber, mainly at the Saint-Etienne site of the CMW (Tréfilerie campus), as well as at the other sites of the laboratory (mainly ENS Lyon and MSH-LSE). As part of the investigation work, he or she will of course have to move around to meet with referees, instructors, managers and during sports meetings of the federations studied (places still undetermined).

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