(Per)forming identity in the mind-sport bridge: Self, partnership and community



Punch S, Russell Z & Cairns B (2021) (Per)forming identity in the mind-sport bridge: Self, partnership and community. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 56 (6), pp. 804-822.

Mind-sports are a relatively under-explored area within the sociology of sport, especially the internationally played game of bridge. In this qualitative sociological study of tournament bridge, we examine the formation and performance of elite bridge player identities through interviews with 52 US and European players. Drawing on symbolic interactionism and Goffman specifically, the paper explores elite players’ social interaction across frontstage and backstage contexts, considering the performativity of self, impression management and values of character. The paper advances the sociology of mind-sport, contributing new insights into how identity is (per)formed by elite players as embodied social interaction within the bridge interaction order. We propose a recursive and layered model of identities across the self, partnership and community. The partnership element is particularly unique to the bridge sports world, which represents an interesting case for the sociological study of international mind-sports.

bridge; Goffman; identities; mind-sport; social interaction

International Review for the Sociology of Sport: Volume 56, Issue 6

FundersWorld Bridge Federation, the European Bridge League, The American Contract Bridge League Educational Foundation, American Contract Bridge League and International Mind Sports Association
Publication date30/09/2021
Publication date online27/09/2020
Date accepted by journal27/08/2020
PublisherSAGE Publications

People (1)


Professor Samantha Punch

Professor Samantha Punch

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology