Date of Award

5-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Joy T. DeSensi

Committee Members

Barbara Thayer-Bacon, Leslee Fisher, John Hardwig

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the relationship between sporting narratives and morality. More specifically, I investigate how people can draw upon sporting experiences, as expressed in narrative form, to help shape and inform their moral choices. Moreover, I argue that reflecting on sporting experiences in a particular way can have a profoundly valuable impact on our moral choices, thus, helping to improve us morally. In addition, I argue that sporting narratives play a crucial moral role due, in large part, to their pervasiveness and accessibility. Drawing from, and expanding on, the practical tradition of narrative ethics, and expanding upon Nelson’s (2001) conception of the narrative counterstory, I introduce two types of morally valuable sporting stories; sport as autobiography and sport as reflexive narrative. I also demonstrate how each type of sporting story can lead one to make morally estimable choices. I introduce the philosophical concepts of the moral conduit and moral mobility in order to reconcile a narrow conception of acceptable texts that one may utilize for moral purposes. In addition, I examine four case studies that highlight the morally salient features of the two types of sporting stories I introduce. Lastly, I draw conclusions, make practical recommendations and suggest directions for future research.

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