“My Story Is My Activism!”: (Re-)Definitions of Social Justice Activism Among Collegiate Athlete Activists

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Despite the recent re-emergence of the athlete activist into public consciousness, activism among athletes continues to be viewed as nonnormative behavior. Drawing from interviews with 31 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I collegiate athlete activists from across the United States, this study examined contemporary definitions of collegiate athlete activism for advancing social justice efforts. Five different conceptualizations of social justice activism emerged during the interviews: activism as social justice action, mentorship, authenticity, intervention, and public acts of resistance. Findings document changing notions of athlete activism and reveal nuanced forms of situational activism that do not rely on public expressions of resistance but rather are woven carefully into the fabric that makes up the athletes’ everyday lives. For these athletes, the image of an activist is not so much that of one walking in the streets but rather that of one using the social power they have as an athlete to promote strategic change in everyday situations. Limitations, directions for future research, and implications for praxis are discussed.




Kluch, Y. (2020). “My Story Is My Activism!”: (Re-)Definitions of Social Justice Activism Among Collegiate Athlete Activists. Communication and Sport, 8(4–5), 566–590. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167479519897288

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