The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the phenomenon of alienation in physical education from the perspectives of children. Of particular interest were children’s perspectives about the three constructs of alienation: (a) powerlessness, (b) meaninglessness, and (c) social isolation, as defined by Carlson (1995). A case study methodology was employed with sixth grade children (ages 10 and 11), with a total of 14 children forming the unit of analysis. Observations, field and reflective notes, drawings and semistructured interviews were used to triangulate the data. The data were analyzed by employing a continuum of inductive and deductive analysis, using categorical aggregation and direct interpretation. Three themes were identified as representative of the children’s perspectives: (a) degree of control, (b) meaning, and (c) social factors. The results are discussed in relation to their contribution to the understanding of alienation in children’s physical education and implications for practice.
Nancy Spencer-Cavaliere and Mary Ann Rintoul
Christopher D. Lantz, Deborah J. Rhea and Karin Mesnier
This study examined the relationships among eating attitudes, exercise identity, and body alienation in ultramarathoners. Eighty-seven competitive ultramarathoners (73 males, 14 females) completed the Eating Attitudes Test–26, Exercise Identity Scale, and Body Alienation Scale as part of their pre-race registration. Correlation coefficients revealed that eating attitudes were positively related to exercise identity (R = 0.31) and injury tolerance (R = 0.43), and that exercise identity was positively related to injury tolerance (R = 0.33). MANOVA further indicated that subjects with high exercise identity reported more eating disorder behaviors [F(2, 80) = 7.73, P < 0.001 J and higher injury tolerance [F (2, 80) = 3.69, P < 0.05] than persons with low exercise identity. Female ultramarathoners scoring high on exercise identity were more likely to report aberrant eating behaviors [F (2, 80) = 3.39, P < 0.05J and higher training intensity levels [F (2, 80) = 3.91, p < 0.02J than were average males and the low- or moderate-exercise identifying females.
Elaine M. Blinde and Susan L. Greendorfer
This paper is a synthesis of results from five separate studies examining how recent structural and philosophical changes in women’s intercollegiate sport programs may have altered the sport experience of female athletes. Based on both questionnaire and interview data, it was apparent that athletes participating in sport programs characterized by the greatest change (e.g., post-Title IX programs, programs of the 1980s, product-oriented sport models, and Division I programs of recent years) shared somewhat common experiences — with the presence of conflict being one of the most pervasive themes. Four types of conflict were identified: (a) value alienation, (b) role strain, (c) role conflict, and (d) exploitation. Each of these types of conflict is discussed and examples to substantiate the presence of each form of conflict are presented. Based upon the findings, it is suggested that the changing context and emphases of college sport may have exposed female athletes to different sets of circumstances, expectations, and experiences, thus altering the nature of the sport experience and bringing into question the educational legitimacy of college sport.
Nancy A. Burkhalter and Janice C. Wendt
Alienation from physical education causes students to withdraw emotionally and physically from participation in classes. In addition, belief in one’s competence in physical activity and physical fitness appears to influence both participation in physical activity and fitness levels. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationships between physical factors (fitness performance and strength measures), psychological factors (alienation from physical education and two types of perceived physical competence), gender, and age in middle school children. Participants in this study were 242 children (138 girls, 104 boys) enrolled in 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade physical education classes. Data were collected on alienation from physical education; perceived competence toward physical fitness and toward physical activity; and grip strength, standing long jump, mile run, percent body fat, and body mass index. Using factor scores, a two-step regression procedure revealed that (a) gender and perceived fitness competence were significant predictors (p < .05) of fitness, explaining 41% of the variance, and (b) age, alienation, and perceived physical activity competence were significant predictors of strength, explaining 25% of the variance. Independent of gender and age, the psychological variables of perceived physical competence toward fitness and alienation are related to physical performance. Highly alienated youth were less fit, and children with lower perceptions of physical competence were less fit.
Elaine M. Blinde
Due in part to changes brought about by Title IX and the NCAA, women’s intercollegiate sport programs have increasingly emulated the male model of intercollegiate sport. Given such a shift in orientation, the present study examined the relationship between the degree to which an athlete’s sport program emulated the male model of sport and (a) the nature and type of values emphasized in the athlete’s sport program, and (b) the degree of value alienation experienced by athletes. Such hypothesized relationships are consistent with feminist claims that women are alienated in structures that have been created and shaped by men without regard for the existence or experienees of women. A questionnaire was mailed to 952 former female athletes who had participated in sport programs at 10 Division I universities, with completed questionnaires received from 482 athletes. Results indicated that an increasing emphasis was placed on “male model values” as the sport program of athletes increasingly emulated the male sport model. Furthermore, athletes were slightly more likely to express feelings of value alienation with increasing emulation of the male sport model.
Teresa B. Carlson
Peggy Roussel and Jean Griffet
This paper suggests that the process of marginalization of women bodybuilders can be analyzed according to two theoretical frameworks. The first is essentially a pessimistic interpretation based on critical sociology and the concept of alienation, which discusses the limits of applying this concept to an empirical reality (in this case, female bodybuilders). The second considers the future of female bodybuilders as being constructed through the muscle cult. Our interpretation is comprehensive. The study stresses self-realization and self-fulfillment in female bodybuilders and discusses their attachment to the bodybuilding subculture.
Emmett L. Gill Jr.
The following is a narrative and critique of the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball Team/Don Imus Morning Show (RUIMUS) controversy. Using a convenience sample of regional and national media accounts and observations this piece summarizes the confirmed events of the RUIMUS controversy. The first objective of the manuscript is to provide a synopsis of the RUIMUS controversy. The second purpose is to explore how White privilege (McIntosh, 2003), new racism (Littlefield, 2008), sexism and their intersection operated during the lifespan of the RUIMUS controversy. The analyses illustrated the presence of the core elements of White privilege, new racism, sexism and double jeopardy, along with accounts of alienation, racial ambiguity, masculine characterizations and becoming visible through a prolonged controversy. The practical implications of these findings for sport managers are presented, and include postcontroversy student-athlete counseling, social and corrective justice, and proactive communications.
Catherine D. Ennis, Donetta J. Cothran, Keren S. Davidson, Susan J. Loftus, Lynn Owens, Lisa Swanson and Peter Hopsicker
The purpose of this study was to examine situational and personal contextual factors that teachers and students reported as enhancing or minimizing student engagement in urban high school physical education classes. In this ethnographic study, 21 physical education teachers and their students in six high schools were observed, and all teachers at six schools and 51 students at five schools were interviewed to examine their perspectives on physical education. Data were analyzed using constant comparison. Findings suggested that students found some tasks to be embarrassing, boring, and irrelevant. Some students preferred to receive a failing grade rather than participate. All participants reported a sense of fear and alienation in the school or class environments. Students, however, described several teachers who created contexts of engagement in these schools. These teachers connected personally with students and worked to provide an innovative curriculum that students felt was relevant and worthwhile.
David Kirk and Doune Macdonald
In this paper we argue that a version of situated learning theory, as one component of a broader constructivist theory of learning in physical education, can be integrated with other forms of social constructionist research to provide some new ways of thinking about a range of challenges currently facing physical educators, such as the alienation of many young people from physical education. The paper begins with a brief comment on some uses of the term “constructivism” in the physical activity pedagogy literature, then provides a more detailed outline of some of the key tenets of Lave and Wenger’s (1991) theory of situated learning. We then go on to show how this theory of situated learning can be applied to thinking about the social construction of school physical education, using the example of sport education.