In contemporary world of work, it is often mentioned that careers in various occupations are becoming uncertain, fragmented and involving an increasing number of transitions. Yet, if we think of the careers of athletes, their working lives have always been boundaryless, short-lived and precarious. What are the implications of the working culture in professional sports for athletes, including the ways they form their identities, and what kind of meaning they assign to sport-work over the course of their athletic careers?
Professor Martin Roderick's fascinating research in has shed light on the world of work in professional sports that is typically hidden from the public gaze. For example, he has analysed the subjective careers of athletes (the changing meaning, identity, and orientations of athletes during their careers); how athletes respond to uncertainty and exploitation they encounter in their work-lives; emotional labour; and the performative elements in how athletes narrate their experiences in the public sphere. In the podcast, Martin shares his thoughts on lessons learned and new exciting directions he has identified in this line of research.
Martin Roderick is a Professor and the Head of Department in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University. Martin's research has focused on the working lives of professional athletes (especially footballers), including issues of work-life balance, family life, and mental health. He is the author of The Work of Professional Football: A Labour of Love? as well as numerous research articles. In our conversation, special reference is made to these works: