In this study, we draw on findings from one year of participant observation and 12 in-depth interviews with men in a highly-ranked English university rugby team in order to nuance theoretical understandings concerning the re-production of homosexually-themed discourse in organised sport. We use ethnographic data to theorise the complex relationship between language, homosocial masculine relationships and organised sport. In examining the political, intentional and inadvertent effects of these men's discourses, we define and discuss the notion of gay discourse as a form of heteronormativity that is dissimilar to the traditional use of homophobic discourse. Highlighting that homosexually-themed discourse is best understood as a continuum, we stress the importance of context in interpreting the meaning and explicating the effects of this kind of discourse.
- university students