Boys, bodies, pleasure and pain: interrogating contact sports in schools

Gard, Michael and Meyenn, Robert (2000) Boys, bodies, pleasure and pain: interrogating contact sports in schools. Sport, Education and Society, 5 1: 19-34. doi:10.1080/135733200114415

Author Gard, Michael
Meyenn, Robert
Title Boys, bodies, pleasure and pain: interrogating contact sports in schools
Journal name Sport, Education and Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1357-3322
Publication date 2000
Year available 2000
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/135733200114415
Open Access Status
Volume 5
Issue 1
Start page 19
End page 34
Total pages 16
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Abstract This paper reports some of the findings of a qualitative study into the physical activity preferences of 23 Australian secondary school boys. The study was originally designed to examine the level of homogeneity amongst boys' physical activity preferences. Semi-structured interviewing techniques and video-taped footage were used to invite boys to discuss their reasons for choosing certain movement forms and rejecting others. However, in the course of the research, the themes of physical injury and pain and a desire for physical contact emerged as central to the boys' experiences and choices. In light of emerging research into the bodily sensations (particularly pleasure) produced by participation in sports, we decided to ask the boys to talk about their own bodies in relation to physical activity and contact sports in particular. Our analysis suggests that actual and potential pain exists as the stated currency which is traded by boys in order to establish acceptable embodied masculine identities. On the other hand, pleasure remained largely unspoken and dangerous territory, both for the boys and for us. This paper discusses the apparent imbalance in the discursive resources boys have to describe pain and pleasure and the implications of this for educators. It also considers the ethical dilemmas for researchers interested in exploring these issues, given current concerns surrounding paedophilia and the bodily safety of children in Australian schools.
Keyword Contact sports
Secondary school boys
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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Created: Wed, 18 Feb 2015, 21:07:45 EST by Michael Gard on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences