The problem of ideology in making sense of physical education and sport: reflections on the Colwell-Mansfield debate

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Two papers in the European Physical Education Review by Colwell (1999) and Mansfield(this issue) have argued respectively against, and in favour of, a potential synthesisbetween feminism and figurational sociology as a vehicle for making more adequatesense of physical education and sport. This paper offers both selective summaries andreflections upon some of the theoretical implications arising from this exchange,specifically as it relates to sport in schools. The first sections offer some remarks aboutsociological theory and the ways in which the theoretical endeavour is bound up withwhat C. Wright Mills has termed ‘the sociological imagination’, one aspect of whichhas included the relatively recent emergence of a more reflexive, democratizing andsynthesizing generation of sociologists. The paper concludes that we do not have toeither agree or disagree with Colwell or Mansfield. Nor is there a need for a presentcentredapproach to, or resolution of, the theoretical issues arising from the exchange.Rather, there is scope for stimulating further this kind of dialogue between researchersof physical education, sport and gender and being well versed in these concerns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-134
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Oct 2008

Bibliographical note

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  • Key-words: feminism • figurational sociology • physical education • sociological theory •
  • values


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