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Adjusting Swedish gymnastics to the female nature: Discrepancies in the gendering of girl’s physical education in the mid-nineteenth century
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3444-952X
2018 (English)In: Espacio, Tiempo y Educación, E-ISSN 2340-7263, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 261-279Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During the nineteenth century, Swedish gymnastics grew to become one of the main models of physical education in the Western world. The purpose of this article is to explore how Swedish gymnastics was adjusted to the female body and mind in the mid-nineteenth century. Using handbooks published by the Swedish educationalist Anton Santesson as an empirical starting point, this article shows how the relationship between gender and gymnastics was complicated and exhibited significant discrepancies. In part, Swedish gymnastics was marked by a one-sex model of gender differences, which meant that gymnastics was perceived as a method for catering to the deficiencies and weaknesses of the feminine nature, in an attempt to make girls and young women more similar to boys. Swedish gymnastics had, nevertheless, vital elements of a two-sex model, according to which gymnastics was supposed to realise the true feminine nature of girls. Following this line of thought, Santesson claimed that, since gymnastics merely followed the laws of the body, it could not make girls more like boys. Santesson’s vision of gymnastics also included disciplinary mechanisms, such as the partitioning of space, which were gender neutral. Apart from presenting insights into the ambiguous and contradictory notions of gender in Swedish girls’ gymnastics, this article thus also raises questions regarding whether other models of physical education were marked by similar discrepancies during the nineteenth century.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Salamanca, Spain: FahrenHouse , 2018. Vol. 5, no 1, p. 261-279
Keywords [en]
Swedish gymnastics; physical education; gender; discipline; history of education
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-54893DOI: 10.14516/ete.162ISI: 000437520200015OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-54893DiVA, id: diva2:1067757
Available from: 2017-01-23 Created: 2017-01-23 Last updated: 2018-07-27Bibliographically approved

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Westberg, Johannes

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf