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A functional intersectionality: religion, ethnicity and gender in PE practice
Örebro University, School of Health Sciences. (ReShape: Research in sport, health and physical education)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1592-8018
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction and purpose: This paper concerns the intersectionality between religion, ethnicity and gender in PE. Intersectionality has been thoroughly discussed within feminist theory. PE research has though been described as being ‘one step behind’. More recently, however, intersectionality has gained increased attention also in PE research and there has been a growing interest for Muslim girls. Although important research, less is known about other “groups” and the PE practice. Reasons might be that studies drawing on intersectionality tend to decide the group of interest in advance and that intersectionality on its own does not say much about how the categories of interest affect the actual practice. The purpose of this paper is thus to bring together intersectional ideas with John Dewey’s pragmatic philosophy and propose a functional intersectionality, and through this ‘lens’ illustrate some functions religion, ethnicity and gender have in PE practice in Sweden.

Methodology: Dewey rejects the human/environment dualism. Rather, he understands this relationship as “organism-in-environment-as-a-whole” (Dewey & Bentley, 1949:133) and emphasizes processes of ‘functional coordination’, i.e. humans who act in the environment, undergoes the consequences, and adjust its actions. Following Dewey, it is possible to explore meanings or functions by investigating actions. With the concept functional intersectionality, I approach the PE practice with an interest for religion, ethnicity and gender. By investigating participants’ patterns of action, i.e. how they deal with different matters within PE, I explore which functions this intersection have. Data has been gathered through lesson observations (40) and interviews with teachers (7) and students (55) at four different schools in Sweden.  

Findings: The analysis shows several functions and patterns of action. Here, I pay attention to a bodily function: a reluctance among Christian as well as Muslim students to dance close to someone of the opposite sex. This function was handled by different patterns of action. One school practiced gender-segregated PE, which enabled couple dance as a recurrent subject content. In co-gendered classes, some teacher avoided couple dance with care for the students’ religious requirements and in the rare cases of couple dance, some students played truant.

Conclusions: By using the concept of functional intersectionality, I found that religion and gender get a bodily function that concerns participants in a wider sense than Muslim girls. Furthermore, the participants’ patterns of action sometimes affect the subject content and, thus, have consequences for all participants.

References:

Dewey, J. & Bentley, A.(1949).Knowing and the known. Boston: Beacon Press

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-69877OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-69877DiVA, id: diva2:1259173
Conference
British Educational Research Association (BERA) conference. Brighton, UK, September 5-7, 2017
Available from: 2018-10-28 Created: 2018-10-28 Last updated: 2019-04-11Bibliographically approved

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Jansson, Karl

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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