‘It’s not like you are less of a man just because you don’t play rugby’—boys’ problematisation of gender during secondary school physical education lessons in New Zealand
(2017) Sport, Education and Society, 22 (8), pp. 890-904.
Despite clear messages from current physical education (PE) curricula about the importance of adopting socially critical perspectives, dominant discourses of gender relating to physical activity, bodies and health are being reproduced within this school subject. By drawing on interview data from a larger ethnographic account of boys’ PE, this paper aims to contribute to our understanding of boys’ experiences of gendered discourses in PE, particularly by acknowledging boys not only as docile or disciplined bodies but also as active subjects in negotiating power relations. In the analysis of the data, particular emphasis is placed on whether the boys recognise the influence of gendered discourses and power relations in PE, how they act upon this knowledge and how they understand themselves as gendered subjects through these particular discourses/power relations. Using Foucault’s (1985. The use of pleasure: The history of sexuality, vol. 2. London: Penguin Books) framework related to the ‘modes of subjectivation’, this paper explores boys’ problematisation of dominant discourses of gender and power relations in PE. In summary, these boys perform gendered selves within the context of PE, via negotiation of gendered discourses and power relations that contribute to an alternative discourse of PE which creates spaces and opportunities for the production of more ethical and diverse masculinities. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.
Boys; Foucault; gender; masculinity; physical education