An Investigation of Students’ Embodied Discourses in Physical Education: A Gender Project

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Laura Azzarito Loughborough University

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Melinda Solmon Louisiana State University

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Despite significant theoretical and practical progress over the past 20 years, the social construction of gender and its link to youths’ participation in physical activity in school contexts remain critical issues that call for further socioeducational scrutiny. In this study, researchers investigated the ways students’ embodiment of discursive constructs differed in terms of gender and race, and the relation between students’ embodied discursive constructs and students’ favorite or least favorite physical activities in physical education classes. The participants were 528 students from three public high schools. A survey was developed to assess students’ embodiment of discursive constructs. These results suggest that discursive constructs are influential in producing students’ choice of “gender-appropriate” physical activities. To destabilize the gender binary, therefore, the creation and promotion of a discourse of the “multiplicity of physicality” is proposed.

Azzarito is with the School of Sport & Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, U.K., and Solmon is with the Department of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.

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