There is a strong relationship between the cultural practices of competitive, organized youth sport and compulsory physical education. The hyper-masculine, violent, and homophobic culture traditionally found within boys segregated sporting spaces is mirrored when youth are compelled to participate in physical education. However, cultural homophobia is on rapid decline in Western countries. Recent research shows high school and university sport to be an increasingly inclusive environment for openly gay male youth. I explore this cultural shift among high school (sixth form) physical education students in England. Using three months of ethnography, and conducting 17 in-depth interviews with 16-18 year old ostensibly heterosexual boys, I show an absence of homophobia and homophobic discourse, the abatement of violence, the absence of a jock-ocratic school culture, and the emotional support of male friends. Thus, I show that while the structure of sport education has remained the same, the hyper-masculine culture surrounding it has changed.
Michael Atkinson and Michael Kehler
There has been a dramatic rise in public, and particularly the media, attention directed at concerns regarding childhood obesity, and body shape/contents/images more broadly. Yet amidst the torrential call for increased attention on so-called “body epidemics” amongst youth in Canada and elsewhere, links between youth masculinities and bodily health (or simply, appearance) are largely unquestioned. Whilst there is a well-established literature on the relationship between, for example, body image and marginalized femininities, qualitative studies regarding boys and their body images (and how they are influenced within school settings) remain few and far between. In this paper, we offer insight into the dangerous and unsettled spaces of high school locker-rooms and other “gym zones” as contexts in which particular boys face ritual (and indeed, systematic) bullying and humiliation because their bodies (and their male selves) simply do not “measure up.” We draw on education, masculinities, health, and the sociology of bodies literature to examine how masculinity is policed by boys within gym settings as part of formal/informal institutional regimes of biopedagogy. Here, Foucault’s (1967) notion of heterotopia is drawn heavily upon in order to contextualize physical education class as a negotiated and resisted liminal zone for young boys on the fringes of accepted masculinities in school spaces.
Biocultural Anthropology and Physical Education
Diverse forms of physical education form in their participants' skills, perceptual abilities and physiological adaptations that distinguish them from practitioners of other activities. These traits, many unconscious, are little studied in sociocultural anthropology in spite of their widespread prevalence. This article specifically explores how practitioners of capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian dance and martial art, learn to do a bananeira, a form of handstand. Its form, practical demands and training techniques make the bananeira a radically different exercise than other forms of handstand, such as that done by gymnasts. Capoeira practitioners develop a distinctive sense of balance—a dynamic assembly of perceptual skills and motor responses—that they use to keep upright while inverted. Across all cultures, forms of physical education and apprenticeship assemble distinctive physical skills, forms of cultural difference that should be defended as ardently as other forms of distinctiveness.
Medical Discourse on Girls in Sweden c. 1880-1930
The sick girl was a popular stereotype in Swedish medical discourse around 1900. It was established by medical authorities at the time that a substantial number of Swedish girls suffered from various diseases and ailments. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, at a time when the welfare state was gradually evolving in the Nordic countries, the scientific opinion of girls changed. The new girl was represented as healthy and active. This article examines the medical discourse on girls, and their activity and health in Sweden during circa 1880 to 1930. It reveals patterns of the medicalization of girls as well as categorizations and constructions of girlhood that corresponded with contemporaneous notions of gender. It reveals a recurring, if inconstant, problematization of girls' illness and lack of adequate physical activity. In this article I will show how the discussions about girls around 1900 share several similarities with current ones.
Heritage and Perspectives
On 1-2 June 2015, Poland’s historic city of Kraków, under the auspices of the Ministry of Sport and Tourism, hosted the scientific conference, Tourism Anthropology: Heritage and Perspectives. The conference was organized by Jagiellonian University’s Institute of Intercultural Studies, and the Department of Tourism and Recreation of the University of Physical Education in Kraków, and aimed to draw up a new framework for tourism anthropology. The participating scholars focused on the relationships between man and culture in the context of traveling, which is becoming an increasingly important part of life for the modern man. Guided by the invited keynote speakers and Scientific Committee members—Nelson Graburn of the University of California–Berkeley, Józef Lipiec of Jagiellonian University, Anna Wieczorkiewicz of Warsaw University, and Ryszard Winiarski of the University of Physical Education in Kraków—the conference participants addressed themes pertaining to man as “homo viator,” the experiential dimensions of tourism, relationships between hosts and guests (and other protagonists), gender in tourism, the real and the virtual, forms of cultural tourism, tourism and culture change, the language of tourism and traveling in cultural contexts, and, finally, methodologies and scholarly practice in social scientific research on tourism.
The 2002 Soccer World Cup in Japan took place during the final
phase of the national election campaign for the German Bundestag
and managed to temporarily unite Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
(SPD) and his conservative challenger, Edmund Stoiber1. Both were
keen to demonstrate repeatedly that they were so interested in the
progress of the German team that they simultaneously interrupted or
left meetings to follow televised matches. Domestically, they support
very different soccer clubs. Stoiber is on the board of directors of the
richest German club, Bayern Munich, whose past successes, wealth
and arrogance, numerous scandals, and boardroom policies of hireand-
fire have divided the German soccer nation: they either hate or
adore the team. Schröder is a keen fan and honorary member of
Borussia Dortmund, which is closely associated with the industrial
working class in the Ruhr area. It is the only team on par with
Munich; despite its wealth, the management policies of the club
appear modest and considerate; the club continuously celebrates its
proletarian traditions and emphasizes its obligations to the local
community. Stoiber’s election manifesto did not even mention sport,
whereas the SPD’s political agenda for sport focused upon a wide
variety of issues ranging from welfare, leisure, physical education,
and health to doping, television coverage, facilities, and hosting
Interrogating the Configured and Configuring of Masculinities in PE
Gerdin, Göran 2017. Boys, Bodies, and Physical Education: Problematizing Identity, Schooling, and Power Relations through a Pleasure Lens . New York: Routledge. 216 pp. $160.00. ISBN 978-1-13864-997-2 (hardback); ISBN 978-1-31562-557-7 (e-book) The
Explorations at the Intersection of Gender Order and Generational Order
prompted South Asian children to withdraw from these spaces. Likewise, studies have found that Physical Education (PE) professionals held similar racialized perceptions about South Asian children's sporting abilities based on pseudo-scientific understanding
Some Research Perspectives
Adam White and Stefan Robinson
( Spring 1974 ). Indeed, in the twentieth century, “sport and those who coached it were charged with shaping boys into heterosexual, masculine men” ( Anderson 2010: 29 ). Traditionally, many have considered physical education another arena to reproduce an
One Path to Positive Anthropological Activism
Aaron L. Miller
hired by the Japanese government to teach its children, and on one of my first days at my school I was appalled to see the physical education teacher slapping a thirteen-year-old boy in the face. I did not understand much Japanese at the time, so I had