Quest for excitement and the role of physical education in a neoliberal education system

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferenceabstrakt i proceedingsForskning

This paper explores the contradiction between how students view PE as a subject in the Danish upper secondary school and the role of the subject in the new Danish upper secondary school reform of 2017. The paper presents a 6 months’ field study of PE lessons in 2 Danish upper secondary schools. Both schools were located in the Danish capital area: 1 school was located north of Copenhagen, the other was located south of Copenhagen. Lessons in 4 PE-classes [N=240] were observed throughout the 6 months and 8 focus group interviews were conducted with students [N=54]. Theory on neoliberalist tendencies in education systems, problematizing the effects of increasing competition and individualisation on students (Connell, 2013; Evans & Davies, 2014; Fernández-Balboa, 2017), will be deployed in order to understand and critically reflect upon the political development in the Danish upper secondary schools for the past decades and the consequences this has had for the structure of PE as an upper secondary school subject. Moreover, we utilize Elias and Dunning’s notion of quest for excitement (Elias & Dunning, 2008 [1986]) in order to comprehend the students’ perspectives on what role the subject plays in their schooling lives. The study has shown that most students value the subject because it represents a “refuge” during an otherwise very hectic and stressful everyday life. At the same time, the new upper secondary school reform of 2017 gives the subject a smaller role in the overall curriculum. However, it is now, for the first time, an exam subject after the third year of upper secondary school. We will discuss whether this increased focus on achievement will diminish other former characteristics of the subject and deprive the students of their so-called “refuge”.
TitelNordic Sociological Association Conference 2018 - NSA 2018 - Aalborg, Denmark, 8th - 10th August 2018 : Book of Abstracts
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 2018
BegivenhedNSA 2018: The 29th Nordic Sociological Association Conference: The Global North – Welfare policies, mobilities, inequalities, and social movements - Aalborg Universitet, Aalborg, Danmark
Varighed: 8 aug. 201810 aug. 2018


KonferenceNSA 2018: The 29th Nordic Sociological Association Conference
LokationAalborg Universitet

Bibliografisk note

CURIS 2018 NEXS 398

ID: 209118121