'You don't have to be black skinned to be black': Indigenous young people's bodily practices

Nelson, Alison (2012) 'You don't have to be black skinned to be black': Indigenous young people's bodily practices. Sport Education and Society, 17 1: 57-75. doi:10.1080/13573322.2011.607912

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Author Nelson, Alison
Title 'You don't have to be black skinned to be black': Indigenous young people's bodily practices
Journal name Sport Education and Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1357-3322
Publication date 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/13573322.2011.607912
Open Access Status
Volume 17
Issue 1
Start page 57
End page 75
Total pages 19
Place of publication Abingdon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract In contemporary Western societies, disciplinary and normalising technologies function to create a sense of moral obligation within each individual to monitor and regulate the body in terms of health, including diet and exercise. The settler/Aboriginal experience in Australia provides an example of the ways in which biopolitics has operated at a population level for all Australians and in specific ways for Indigenous bodies. This study sought to explore the perceptions of a group of urban Indigenous young people regarding their views of their bodies in the context of health and physical activity. Using the lens of biopolitics, complemented by post-colonial theory, this paper will draw attention to the ways in which historical and current discourses around Indigenous health might illustrate biopolitical technologies of power whilst also highlighting the ways in which Indigenous young people have navigated both disciplinary and normalising regimes. Fourteen participants (six male and eight female) were interviewed seven times over two and a half years using mapping, photos and drawing as stimuli. Data were analysed both thematically and through a process of discourse analysis with a view to explore the ways in which participants negotiated discursive constructions of the body, particularly notions of self-governance. It appeared that the young people engaged with, were ambivalent to, contested and resisted discourses around proper’ bodily appearance, the obligation to ‘work’ on their bodies, their perceptions of an ideal body, their negotiation of an authentic ‘black’ body and the ways in which they used their bodies to perform or achieve. The voices of the young people illustrate these themes. This research contributes significantly to the modest body of physical education and health literature from the perspectives of Indigenous young people. It raises questions about the impact of normalising discourses on Indigenous young people and in particular the ways in which those who resist them might be positioned.
Keyword Indigenous
Young people
The cultural interface
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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