Research exploring school physical education (PE) reveal that much of what is happening in the gym is universally the same regardless of country. These studies show that PE is much about what Kirk (2010) calls PE-as-sport-techniques and to some extent fitness training. Teachers teach much in the same way, it is much of the same discussions of sport and fitness, and the activities that dominate are ball-games, gymnastics, track and field, fitness exercises, games, play and to some extent dance.
However, to a large extent these studies are conducted from perspectives where the analytical gaze is about ‘zooming out’, i.e. where action is seen to represent overall structures. In other words PE-practice looks pretty much the same from a distance. At the same time at least we, when we look at PE-practice in Sweden, feel that what might look the same could, if we base our analysis on perspectives where the analytical gaze is ‘zooming in’ on the practice, it is possible to see particularities that are related to different contexts (cf. Larsson & Karlefors, 2015). So instead of discussing PE-practice in terms of universal discourses of fitness or sport we will in this presentation introduce a way to explore and understand the place of context in PE from perspective where zooming in on the practice is key. In this way, the context is always in the process of becoming the context it is in the on-going practices of in this case PE.
The presentation takes its starting point in a Swedish didactics of physical education research tradition and shows how a combination of Bourdieu's logics of practice and Dewey's idea of ends-in-view can be used to take similarities and differences in PE-cultures into account without disregarding issues of individual and social aspects of learning. We will also illustrate the approach using data from Swedish PE in terms of (i) Doing sports: learning sport techniques or ‘trying out physical activities’, (ii) Hegemonic masculinity: rampant or benevolent, and (iii) Fitness testing: monitoring fitness or trying and experiencing different tests. In this way we show how things that seemingly can look the same also can be understood and discussed as something different.
British Educational Research Association (BERA 2016), Leeds, UK, 13-15 September 2016