Promoting integration through physical education (?)


A common problem in contemporary western societies is segregation,which is also reflected in schools. The point of departure for this study is apolitical initiative in Sweden, where pupils are being transported by busfrom a suburb to different schools in the city with the aim of promotingintegration and improved performance results. The study focuses on theteaching practice of Physical Education (PE) at one of the schools where‘the bus for inclusion’ stops every morning. The research questionconcerns how ‘the political action’ of the bussing project is ‘acted upon’in the subject of PE. The purpose is to explore what becomes of thisparticular PE practice, in terms of rationalities encompassing a PEteacher’s pedagogical actions and the pupils’ ways of acting on them. Thedata, gathered through extensive fieldwork, including lesson observationsand interviews, is analysed from a governmentality perspective [Foucault,1978/1994. Governmentality. In Power (pp. 201–222). New York: The NewPress]. The findings highlight three underlying rationalities in regards tointegration, aiming at promoting intercultural encounters, collaborationand mutual respect. These rationalities, manifested through the PEteacher’s pedagogical actions, offer guidance for the pupil seen as ‘asubject seeking to construct himself or herself’ [Wieviorka 2014. A critiqueof integration. Identities, 21(6), 633–641, 636–637]. In case of compliance,the notion of ‘us and them’ is countered and a shared experience ofbelonging is achieved through teamwork and self-regulation. In case ofresistance, segregation is maintained in the school community as well asin society as a whole. This study does not contribute any incontestableevidence of social inclusion through PE [cf. Bailey, 2005. Evaluating therelationship between physical education, sport and social inclusion.Educational Review, 57(1), 71–90; Dagkas, 2018. Is social inclusion throughPE, sport and PA still a rhetoric? Evaluating the relationship betweenphysical education, sport and social inclusion. Educational Review, 70(1),67–74]. However, the findings indicate that ‘action upon action’ in aculturally heterogeneous PE practice makes a difference insofar asintegration is understood as a process of subjectivation [Wieviorka 2014.A critique of integration. Identities, 21(6), 633–641]. Depending on thedirection of the PE teacher’s guidance, the process might tend towardseither cultural assimilation or pluralistic integration [Grimminger, 2008.Promoting intercultural competence in the continuing education ofphysical education teachers. Sport-Integration-Europe, 310–320].Funding Agency:Örebro Universitet</p

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