Guide Physical culture, power, and the body

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Body power

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Ships with Tracking Number! May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. May be ex-library. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Her work examines how culture controls people, shaping our view of the normal body, the beautiful body, the toned and fit body, the athletic body, the tattooed body — and bodies that deviate from these accepted standards — and influencing how we view ourselves, how we behave, how we interact with others, how we look, even how we are trained in physical education.

Physical Culture Power Body

Why do kids play basketball in gym class instead of swimming, bicycling or dancing? For additional information about Physical Culture, Power and the Body, visit www. UBC News. Although there was often dissatisfaction with the rules of the school, the girls were aware that they lacked the social and cultural capital to challenge them and, as such, they were obliged to conform with the regulations presented to them. As a result of this conformity, they can be seen to develop characteristics that allow them to successfully engage in the field, i. In this way, they come to learn and take for granted what is, and is not, acceptable behaviour in their particular community of practice 4.

The notion of habitus is useful here, because it allows for an understanding of the unconscious element in young people's behaviour within schools, and the way in which these norms and ideals become written into the body Kirk, , Francis, As Bourdieu points out, habitus is 'not something that one has, like knowledge that can be brandished, but something that one is Wren suggests that accumulated capital, in the form of internalised social norms, can often allow young people to function more effectively within the more specific context of the school, because it provides a general knowledge base for them to draw upon.

Indeed Kirk b has suggested that, as an institutional practice, the use of space and time to regulate young people's behaviour can be perceived as a 'defining feature of schooling' p. The overt aspect of this regulation the covert aspect will be returned to later in the discussion can be thought of as the restrictions inherent within the organisation and structure of the school site, and which directly govern young people's movements within the physical boundaries of that context.

For example, the restriction of students to particular areas, such as classrooms, dining halls or playground facilities, or even to specific spaces within those areas, for example sitting at particular desks within classrooms Jackson, ; Kirk, It has been suggested that the arrangement of young people's bodies via the regulation of both space and time within the school allows for those with power in the field i. For the young people involved in the study, this corporeal control within the field was an integral part of the school experience, and the considerable amount of time spent in the field was perceived to inevitably influence their behaviour, attitudes and practices.

As Katie explained:. Well, you're here five days out of the seven, it can't not influence you! And then you go home and spend the majority of your weekends and evenings doing homework, so it would influence you. Although the girls often voiced considerable resistance to the time regulations imposed by the school, they also, conversely, accepted them as being an inescapable reality. Indeed, it was evident that they had to an extent embodied the structuring of time, and that it formed an integral part of their 'school' habitus.

The time-space maps that were completed by the young people give an indication of how closely their time was regulated during the school day 5 , and reflected largely the daily arrangement of time via timetabling. Several researchers have highlighted the timetable as a significant feature of the school environments, and an effective tool for disciplining and regulating bodies Hamilton, ; Foucault, ; Kirk, a.

For the girls, their days were scheduled by administration periods, lessons and break times, and this routine gave structure and coherence to their experiences within the field. Their embodiment of these time regulations was inherent in their conversations with each other via comments such as 'what do you have last lesson?

It was also clear that phrases such as 'break time', 'lunch time' and 'home time' represented precise temporal moments for these young people, and although they were not specifically referred to as such the meaning was clear to those with inside knowledge of the particular school environment. The distinction between 'school time' and 'free time', which effectively equated to 'peer time', was a key feature of the girls' conversations regarding the issue of time within the field of school, and the balance of the two represented a significant source of tension.

The negative connotations attached to 'school time', and the perceived lack of freedom that it represented, appeared to serve to elevate the concept of 'free time' in the minds of these young people. This notion was regarded as particularly valuable because the girls themselves had relative authority in deciding how it was used, e. Within the school environment this free time took the forms of breaks between lesson periods or at lunch time , and represented a time when young people could meet with their peers away from the direct regulation of teachers.

Wyness has suggested that although young people are positioned by and within the structure of the school, they also create their own spaces within these structures. For the girls these 'back regions', e. This is not to say that these spaces were completely free from control, but rather that they were subject to different forms of regulation. In the school environment these back regions are a major site for peer interactions, and the norms and ideals associated with the field of peers can be seen to influence young people's constructions of self in this context.

As Katie's comment indicated, 'at ten minute breaks, it's like into the toilets and hair, hair, hair'. There is evidence here, as well as elsewhere within the data, to suggest that the girls were conforming to dominant societal and cultural notions of femininity which necessarily influenced the value and composition of physical capital in this context that were being policed by the peer group.

These additional pressures simply serve to reinforce the centrality of the body to the girls' experiences of the field of school.

The association between school, bodies and identity represented a significant theme within the data, and reflects a growing research interest in the area of school and embodied identity e. It has already been established that the movement of individuals around the school is closely controlled via the organisation of space and time and that these regulations, embodied to an almost unconscious level, are manifested through the habitus.

In this way, the bodies of young people in school can be seen to reflect the structure of the field and their relative location or position within it Giddens, For the girls, one of the main themes in relation to the issue of school and the body was that of 'uniform'. The convent school itself had an extensive and traditional uniform, i.

Body Culture and Physical Culture |

The girls themselves suggested that the nature of this uniform reflected both the values of the school - 'it's a take off of a nun's uniform' Mia - and its long history - 'it's just so Victorian isn't it' Katie. The link between the uniform and the values of the school was significant because it allowed for the literal embodiment of school identity. The girls were aware that a uniform allowed them to be identified, and, conversely, for them to identify others, as 'belonging' to a specific school.

Moreover, it could also identify individuals more specifically as located within a particular space in the field of school. For example, the lower school at St.

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Agnes' had a slightly different uniform than the upper school. The issue of uniform was one about which the girls felt extremely strongly and, although compulsory, there was considerable resistance to the regulation it imposed and the authority of teachers to reinforce it. As the following extract shows:. Lara: They're having a massive uniform check at the minute. Everything that's not to do with school uniform you can't wear. Mia: You can't even have a coloured bag on Friday, when you've got your own clothes and stuff.