Transformative pedagogies for challenging body culture in physical education

Kimberly Oliver, David Kirk

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Advocacies for forms of critical pedagogy in and through physical education appeared in the 1970s and steadily gained momentum through the 1980s and 1990s, but the translation of this early advocacy into practice that could lead to social change was not easily attained. We provide a brief account of the historical context for this topic, in which we note some of the main theoretical approaches to conceptualising the body, its social construction and the experience of embodiment in physical education. We also consider issues in work on the body in physical education since the 1980s with a particular emphasis on more recent trends. We focus, in particular, on the emerging line of research centred on activist approaches to working with girls in physical education as an example of the successful translation of advocacy into practice that includes pedagogies of embodiment as integral to new forms of physical education. We conclude that the example of activist work with girls in physical education shows is how a focus on embodiment as integral to a transformative pedagogy requires a radical reconstruction of physical education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Physical Education Pedagogies
EditorsCatherine D. Ennis
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2016

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks


  • pedagogies
  • body culture
  • physical education


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