‘I’m not a horse girl’. Social divisions in students’ narratives and the implications for inclusive physical education

Ingfrid Mattingsdal Thorjussen

(Publisert i Sport, Education & Society, 27. feb. 2022)

In recent years, the complexity of post-modern societies has gained increasing attention. In terms of education, the attention involves focusing on how students experience inclusion and meaningful learning, regardless of their ethnic and/or socioeconomic background. These matters are particularly relevant in health and physical education (PE), where research has illuminated that some students experience exclusion and/or marginalisation due to these social divisions. Nonetheless, further research is warranted to investigate the complex interplay between family, socioeconomic background and inclusion in the PE context. An intersectional perspective that considers social divisions and narratives of location as proposed by Anthias underpins the study. Two questions are addressed: 1) How are differences in the students’ ethnic, gendered, and social class background relevant to the narratives they bring to PE? and 2) How does the students’ narratives influence their meaning-making of PE? The setting of the study was two multi-ethnic co-ed PE classes at a public school located in Oslo, Norway. Data was generated from semi-structured interviews with 17 of the students. The analysis highlighted important differences concerning the number and types of activities the students were involved in during leisure, including the role sports and physical activity played in their families. Ethnic and cultural background seemed to be the most influential social divisions, however, further analysis revealed how divisions such as class and gender intersected in the students’ narratives. With regard to meaning-making of PE, the students, regardless of background, positioned themselves as potential young bodies at risk, placing PE within pathological health discourses. Moreover, the narratives suggested that a taken for grantedness regarding content and knowledge taught in PE might prevent some students from making meaningful links between PE and their everyday life. In conclusion, this study reflects on the implications of the insights concerning PE practice.

Les hele artikkelen her: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13573322.2022.2044302