Culture on Ice: Figure Skating & Cultural Meaning

Paperback | May 21, 2003

byEllyn Kestnbaum

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Figure skating is one of the most popular spectator sports in the U.S., yet it eludes definitive categorization. In this engaging new book, Ellyn Kestnbaum examines figure skating from multiple perspectives: as sport, as performance, and even as spectacle, guiding the reader through both the technical aspects of skating and the sometimes convoluted rules of figure skating competition. By careful readings of skating events at the 1994 and 1998 Olympic Games, she argues that figure skating is a language, one whose meaning is inflected by the culture at large. In particular, she looks at the ways in which race, social class and gender all disrupt, subvert or reinforce the practices of figure skating, and examines the influence of the media in shaping perceptions of the sport. As a skater, skating fan and scholar, Kestnbaum brings a unique point of view to this study, providing not only a history of the skating world but also a feeling for what it is like to be on the ice.

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From the Publisher

Figure skating is one of the most popular spectator sports in the U.S., yet it eludes definitive categorization. In this engaging new book, Ellyn Kestnbaum examines figure skating from multiple perspectives: as sport, as performance, and even as spectacle, guiding the reader through both the technical aspects of skating and the sometim...

ELLYN KESTNBAUM has published articles in Theatre Topics and is a contributor to Women On Ice: Feminist Responses to the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Spectacle, edited by Cynthia Baughman (1995).
Format:PaperbackDimensions:376 pages, 9.01 × 6.03 × 0.92 inPublished:May 21, 2003Publisher:Wesleyan University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:081956642X

ISBN - 13:9780819566423

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Meaning and Figure Skating
A General Theory of Meaning
Skating as a Signifying System
How Figure Skating and Its Meanings Developed
The Beginnings of Skating on Ice
Issues in the Development of Figure Skating
Specularity
Cultural Meanings of Ladies' Figure Skating
Critiques of Skating's Feminine Ideal
Girls versus Ladies
Masculinity on Edge
Figure Skating and "Real" Manhood
Out of the Closet
Compulsory Mating Dances
Defining Duos
Gendered Meanings in Crisis
Spectatorship
Intimate Pleasures: Skating Fandom
Conclusion
Appendix: The Technical Basis of Figure Skating

Editorial Reviews

Figure skating is one of the most popular spectator sports in the U.S., yet it eludes definitive categorization. In this engaging new book, Ellyn Kestnbaum examines figure skating from multiple perspectives: as sport, as performance, and even as spectacle, guiding the reader through both the technical aspects of skating and the sometimes convoluted rules of figure skating competition. By careful readings of skating events at the 1994 and 1998 Olympic Games, she argues that figure skating is a language, one whose meaning is inflected by the culture at large. In particular, she looks at the ways in which race, social class and gender all disrupt, subvert or reinforce the practices of figure skating, and examines the influence of the media in shaping perceptions of the sport. As a skater, skating fan and scholar, Kestnbaum brings a unique point of view to this study, providing not only a history of the skating world but also a feeling for what it is like to be on the ice."Kestnbaum’s writing is lucid and often elegant, the material artfully arranged. Truly impressive." - Helena Michie, Professor of English, Rice University