Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Brian T. Gearity

Second Advisor

Clayton R. Kuklick

Third Advisor

Scarlett Choi


Athlete mental health, Coaching, Foucault, Heterotopia, Norms, Ted Lasso


Sports culture, including its traditional coaching practices and norms aligned with orthodox masculinity, has profound negative implications for the mental health and well-being of athletes. To improve athlete mental health and well-being sports coaching must challenge harmful cultural norms. Sports coaching has repeatedly been problematized through a poststructuralist Foucauldian lens; however, predominantly absent from the literature is Foucault’s concept of heterotopia that enables rule-breaking practices to exist. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is two-fold: (a) to explore Foucault’s heterotopia within the context of sports coaching and (b) to demonstrate its use in altering the culture of sports. I begin by introducing Foucault’s theoretical understanding of the ways in which sports norms are produced, enforced, challenged, and altered. I then explore Foucault’s heterotopia within the concepts of his larger works of power, resistance, and the formation of an ethical self. I conclude by operationalizing heterotopia within sports coaching through an analysis of the popular sports comedy-drama television series Ted Lasso (Lawrence et al., 2020-2023) and explore its implications in altering the cultural landscape of sports coaching.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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