1 Department of Education - Education, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University2 Danish School of Education - Pædagogisk Antropologi, Emdrup, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University3 Danish School of Education - Pædagogisk Antropologi, Emdrup, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University
In this paper I investigate the relationship between skills and identity of an elite cyclist, who during his career managed to become a big star in the professional peleton. This is Jesper Skibby. The paper is based on a reading of his autobiography "Forstå mig ret." In the book he reproduces his career chronologically progressing through a series of identities from an amateur rider, to a team rider and a captain. On the surface and in his own self-understanding these identities and the corresponding competencies belong to the individual. But on closer reading based on actor-network theory, it turns out that the conception of the self-reliant, performing individual does not hold. In this paper I will argue that the rider achieve his skills through the deletion of personal boundaries and re-assembly with an ever-wider range of actors in the surrounding world. To develop as a rider the individual must put his identity at stake through displacement and temporary disintegration of the self to connect to a new network. I therefore propose that the widespread notion that identity is a core in the individual is replaced by a network metaphor whereby identity conceptually is distributed to a network with a specific composition that enables the rider to perform in a certain way.