Inclusive and exclusive masculinities in physical education: A Scottish case study

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Abstract

This research examines how adolescent males (ages 16-17 years) construct and experience their masculine identities within the context of physical education (PE). A class of 23 boys and 3 girls from a state secondary school in Scotland were observed over a period of three months. During the third month, five of the observed pupils volunteered to take part in a conversation with the lead researcher which was guided by their participation in a repertory grid task. The same five participants also took part in a one-to-one semi-structured interview. The analysis of the evidence revealed that the adolescent pupils internalised and performed an orthodox form of masculinity that centred on strength, pain tolerance and the policing of others. More inclusive masculinities appeared to be emerging, however, the hypermasculine and public nature of the PE environment made it very difficult for the pupils to freely adopt or perform these alternative, more inclusive forms of masculinity. Additionally, pupils who did perform traits associated with inclusive masculinity often exhibited a high degree of social and physical capital. In order to facilitate a culture where all individuals feel free to express their gendered identities, teachers are encouraged to recognise, promote and celebrate multiple masculinities. This could create a safer learning environment for pupils and help prevent identities from being ‘destroyed’ in PE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-228
JournalSport, Education and Society
Volume23
Issue number3
Early online date30 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • hegemonic masculinity
  • physical education
  • identity
  • orthodox masculinity
  • inclusive masculinity
  • social capital

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