Physical Education – Promoting Sport Participation in School and Beyond

Globalisation and the commodification of sport as a product and as a business begs the question – is sport in contemporary society as significant as it has been for previous generations? A functional response sees claims that of course, “sport builds character”, “playing sport is good for our health”, or “sport builds team skills”. Many people take a narrow ideological stance claiming that PE should engage children in sporting activities, which in turn will make them fit and healthy. While this is problematic on a number of fronts – for example the limited amount of time allocated to PE in the school curriculum – PE is far more sophisticated than merely a site for physical activity accumulation. While claimed benefits to personal character formation and broader sociological assumptions about sport’s contributions are emotively appealing and often promoted through media and popular culture, becoming part of our culture vocabulary, the statements rarely hold up to critical scrutiny.

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