An eroding social justice agenda: The case of physical education and health edu-business in schools

McCuaig, Louise, Enright, Eimear, Macdonald, Doune, Rossi, Tony, & Hansen, Scott (2016) An eroding social justice agenda: The case of physical education and health edu-business in schools. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 87(2), pp. 151-164.

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In this paper we draw on current research to explore notions of a socially just Health and Physical Education (HPE), in light of claims that a neoliberal globalisation promotes markets over the states, and a new individualism that privileges self-interest over the collective good. We also invite readers to consider United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s ambition for PE in light of preliminary findings from an Australian led research project exploring national and international patterns of outsourcing HPE curricula. Data were sourced from this international research project through a mixed method approach. Each external provider engaged in four phases of research activity:

(a) Web-audits,

(b) Interviews with external providers,

(c) Network diagrams, and

(d) School partner interviews and observations.


We use these data to pose what we believe to be three emerging lines of inquiry and challenge for a socially just school HPE within neoliberal times. In particular our data indicates that the marketization of school HPE is strengthening an emphasis on individual responsibility for personal health, elevating expectations that schools and teachers will “fill the welfare gap” and finally, influencing the nature and purchase of educative HPE programs in schools. The apparent proliferation of external providers of health work, HPE resources and services reflects the rise and pervasiveness of neoliberalism in education. We conclude that this global HPE landscape warrants attention to investigate the extent to which external providers’ resources are compatible with schooling’s educative and inclusive mandates.

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ID Code: 93980
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: edu-business, curriculum, Physical Education, pedagogy
DOI: 10.1080/02701367.2016.1163978
ISSN: 2168-3824
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 22 Mar 2016 04:56
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2017 09:01

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