This thesis is about the social construction of the field of physical education during a significant political event, the 1992 Australian Senate Inquiry into Physical and Sport Education. Chapter 1 outlines how this study involved a contemporary historical review of a field over approximately five years. Using Clegg's (1989) circuits of power and Goodson's (1987) notion of how subjects change over time as the theoretical frameworks underpinning the thesis, examination of the Report and other relevant documents showed how power plays out to shape a field as some voices are privileged while others are marginalised.
As this study involved an historical perspective, the literature presented in Chapter 2 reviews curriculum history including curriculum development of both school subjects in general and physical education specifically. Due to discussion at the time leading up to the Inquiry, the second section of this review of literature elaborates on the construction of the 'crises' in physical education both abroad and in Australia. A major issue that arose from this dialogue was how to define the field; therefore, definitions and representations of terms involved in the field are included. This chapter also addresses selected and relevant discourses shaping physical education at that point in history. The chapter concludes by posing the research question that framed this study:
• How was the field of physical education represented in the 1992 Australian Senate Inquiry into Physical and Sport Education?
Using Crotty's framework (1998), the epistemology, theoretical perspective, methodology and methods, are outlined in Chapter 3. The evidence that informs this study is drawn from specific document analysis of the Report presented by the Senate Committee, the Hansards that were made, the submissions by members of the public, and from interviews with 23 key participants who made representations about the Inquiry. Use of content, document and discourse analysis occurred to analyse the wealth of information that was gained.
As this was mainly an interpretive piece of research, the findings and discussion are presented concurrently in Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7. The data analysis saw the emergence of four key themes and each of these themes served as the topic for an individual chapter. Chapter 4 presents the information relating to the definitions and the issues surrounding the formation of the Inquiry as well as the processes involved in running an Inquiry. It suggests that defining the field was problematic. The discussion surrounding the genesis and processes involved in an Inquiry add insight to a complex process that few have the opportunity to explore. Chapter 5 discusses the issue of skill development in children and how it came to occupy such a central role in the Inquiry. Chapter 6 is concerned with the involvement of girls in the field and focussed on the gender discourses that came through the Inquiry. The last chapter of findings and discussion presents information concerned with research in the field suggesting that the Inquiry was concerned about the lack of data that was available about issues in physical education. These four chapters will therefore illuminate who made representations for, of and about the definition, skill development in children, girls and physical and sport education, and research, or lack thereof, in the field. .........................