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Promoting integration through Physical Education
Örebro University, School of Health Sciences. IHM. (SMED, ReShape)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1773-7792
2019 (English)In: Promoting integration through Physical Education, 2019Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background and purpose: Due to migratory movements, many advanced liberal democracies of today are characterised by cultural heterogeneity. A common problem in these societies is segregation, which is also reflected in schools. In Sweden, this challenge is currently tackled through ‘bussing projects’ in order to promote integration and improve performances results. The research interest is directed at one of the schools where ‘the bus for inclusion’ stops every morning. According to Bunar (2015), physical education (PE) is regarded as a school subject of particular importance for integration. However, Barker and Lundvall (2016) note that PE is ‘unprepared for changing societies’. Based on the (high or low) expectations of PE as an integration subject, the study focuses on the promotion of integration through PE.

The purpose of the study is to explore how the promotion of integration is carried out through the PE teacher’s pedagogical actions and the pupils’ ways of acting on them and also what the consequences of this ‘action upon action’ (Foucault, 1982/1994, p. 340) in the PE practice are likely to be.

Methods: The study focused on a PE teacher (a forty-year-old white male) and a heterogeneous class of pupils. The purposive sampling strategy was to ask the PE teacher which of his classes he would recommend for the study, based on a broad spectrum of cultural identities. The teacher recommended a class in school year seven, with pupils aged 13. The field work involved observing a total of eighteen lessons throughout the autumn term in 2018. The observations were complemented by two semi-structured interviews with the PE teacher, at the beginning and at the end of the research project. The field notes and transcriptions were analysed from a governmentality perspective (Foucault,1978/1994).

Results: The PE teacher’s pedagogical actions are promoting intercultural encounters, collaboration and mutual respect. Depending on the pupils’ compliance or resistance to the teacher’s guidance, the consequences are likely to differ. In the case of compliance, subjectivities with intercultural competences and interpersonal skills are constituted. Potentially, this subjectification process benefits integration in a neoliberal society like Sweden. In the case of resistance, a certain degree of segregation will remain as long as the pupils continue to solely identify themselves with those from similar cultural backgrounds and exclude others.

Conclusion: The study connects the municipality’s ‘government at a distance’ with ‘the microphysics of power’ in the PE practice. As suggested by Walters (2012), the analysis then builds outwards again, which makes it possible to speculate on consequences at the macro level. Thus, this article shows how a PE teacher’s guidance can make a difference, not only in the gym, but in society as a whole. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Integration, physical education, social inclusion, governmentality, intercultural encounters
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Sports Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-75554OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-75554DiVA, id: diva2:1340327
Conference
AIESEP International Conference, New York, USA, June 19-22, 2019
Note

To cite this research project, wait for the publication of the article in 'Sport, Education and Society', hopefully in 2019 or 2020.

Available from: 2019-08-05 Created: 2019-08-05 Last updated: 2019-08-07Bibliographically approved

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Tolgfors, Björn

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CiteExportLink to record
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