Identity socialization and construction within the French national rugby union women’s team.

The goal of this article is to present the output of a study on women who play rugby union at international level. This article aims to uncover the steps in their sport socialization – in rugby among others – and to understand how these women construct their identities. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 players from the French national rugby union women’s team. First, the results show that the players have varied sport and rugby socializations. Sport socialization happened at an early age for most of the players, but two different subgroups seem to emerge vis-à-vis rugby socialization: members of the second underwent socialization through their family for many years, while members of the other were not as exposed to rugby. As far as the identity question is concerned, the players present different constructions vis-à-vis social norms. The results show that a majority of women say they do not feel the need to meet social norms said to be feminine, while others want to in order to free themselves from the masculine identity caused by the fact that they play rugby. Lastly, some of the players set limits on this double identity, which is sometimes identified as a constraint.

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