Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Gerdin, G.
The disciplinary and pleasurable spaces of boys’ PE – The art of distributions
(2016) European Physical Education Review, 22 (3), pp. 315-335.

DOI: 10.1177/1356336X15610352

Abstract
In taking heed of the so-called ‘spatial turn’ in social theory this paper explores how the spatial intersects with boys’ performances of gender and (dis)pleasures in school physical education (PE). In particular, the paper aims to contribute to our understanding of how the organisation and implementation of physical and social spaces in PE can be seen as enabling or restricting boys’ participation and enjoyment in this subject. The research setting was a multicultural single-sex boys’ secondary school in Auckland, New Zealand which is widely known for its strong focus on sports and especially rugby. The data was generated through a participatory visual research approach involving video recordings, focus groups and individual interviews. In order to interpret the data I draw on Foucault’s theorising of the disciplinary use of space, what he calls ‘the art of distributions’, to examine the co-construction of gender, space and (dis)pleasures within boys’ PE. I demonstrate how through their performances of gender, as shaped by discourses and relations of power associated with sport and masculinity, the boys capitalise on the spaces of PE to highlight them as productive and pleasurable spaces. © The Author(s) 2015.

Author Keywords
Boys; Foucault; gender; masculinity; pleasure; space

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