Hoosiers on the Hardwood: A Critical Examination of Indiana Basketball Culture and its Effect on Identity Formation
Carey, Robert Scott
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The purpose of this research was to examine the nexus at which Indiana basketball and the state’s ‘hoosier’ identity meet. More specifically, this thesis interrogates the romanticization of this sporting culture for its pedagogical role in the creation of twenty-first century ‘hoosier’ bodies. Adopting a theoretical orientation rooted in critical race theory, I argue that Indiana’s basketball culture represents a normalized / normalizing structure underneath which Otherness is reified to produce hypervisible “different” outsiders (‘non-hoosiers’), and invisible “disciplined” insiders (i.e. ‘hoosiers’). Utilizing data gleaned over a two-month period spent conducting fieldwork in the “hoosier state” (document analysis, unstructured interviewing, and participant observation), I specifically tailor my analysis to uncover people’s understanding, negotiation, and performance of this regional and national subject position. From this point of inquiry, authentic ‘hoosierness’ comes to be represented, known, practiced, and felt in relation to hierarchies of power that privilege white, hypermasculine, rural, and conservative bodies.