18 SES 11 A, Affect and Embodiment within Physical Education
Changing rooms are contested spaces in school settings in Europe. In some countries, such as Norway, a majority (97 %) of the pupils aged 10-16 years in compulsory school use the changing room in connection to PEH, with a slightly lower number using the showers (80,5%) (Mordahl Moen, Westli, & Skille. 2017). In England, however, only 39 % of the similar age group 11-16 year olds reported that they always or sometimes shower (Sandercock, Ogunleye, & Voss. 2016). Amongst Danish pupils (age 16-19) slightly less showered after PEH, 37% (GIPS, 2018). There were no gender differences in these studies (Couturier, Chepko, & Coughlin. 2007; Mordahl Moen, Westli, & Skille. 2017; Sandercock, Ogunleye, & Voss. 2016).
Although the most common reason for avoiding to take a shower after class was lack of time and the reason for not attending PEH-class at all was to avoid being sweaty when going to the next class (Couturier, Chepko, & Coughlin. 2005), it is reasonable to believe that there might be other explanations too. Pupils may feel uncomfortable in this space for a variety of reasons (Frydendahl & Friis Thing, 2020). Getting undressed in front of peers may be experienced as a vulnerable situation due to personal insecurity or fear of exposure in social media. Puberty is a particularly susceptible period in life because of bodily changes, and exposure of breast, pubic hair or lack thereof, may inflict both shame and pride among peers. Yet, changing clothes in these spaces is often a compulsory activity for pupils attending PEH- classes both before such an activity and afterwards.
The changing room provides a site for transforming yourself from the everyday you to the sporting you and then back again. This transformation involves socio-cultural, material, sensorial and affective aspects. For instance, shedding the outer skin, metaphorically speaking, reveals what is beneath, i.e. the naked body with all its beauty and fleshly flaws. This is a place for negotiating and regulating looks, but also for negotiating and regulating observational practices. Moreover, having showers after physical include a component of hygiene.
As a teacher in PEH, handling changing room situations are part and parcel of everyday life. Students in this type of teacher training have considerable personal experience from changing rooms and will also be responsible for their future pupils’ transitions to and from physical activity. Yet, little attention is normally given to changing room practices during teacher training. In order to address this gap, the overall aim of this study was to describe and analyse the affective experiences related to the changing room practices expressed by students in PEH teacher training and further to analyse the students’ reflections on their future teaching practices concerning this space. To meet this aim, three research questions were developed: 1) How did the students describe their changing room practices, 2) which were the occurring affects stimulated in the changing room context, 3) how did the students reflect on their forthcoming pedagogical practices involving changing room procedures for their pupils?
Theoretically, this study draws from Tomkins’ (1962; 1963; 1991) ideas of affect and scripts, further elaborated by scholars such as Demos (Tomkins & Demos 1995) and Probyn (2005). Affect is described as a primary motivator in human beings and is, in contrast to feelings and emotion, a basic system for human functioning (Tomkins & Demos, 1995). Thus, feelings are the consciousness of affect. Script theory is based on behaviour and personal structure as responses to affect. Tomkins argued that behaviour and personal structures develop when affect is triggered in a certain intensity, place, event, or situation: so-called affective scenes.
Methodologically, this study is inspired by Pink’s notion of sensory ethnography (Pink 2015). Pink proposed an “emplaced ethnography that attends to the question of experience by accounting for the relationships between bodies, minds, and the materiality and sensoriality of the environment” (2015, p. 28). In this way a focus is placed on the experiencing body and mind in a material environment. We have employed what could be termed short term ethnography (Pink & Morgan, 2013) or focused ethnography (Andreassen, K. Christensen & Møller, 2019). Six students in PEH teacher training volunteered as research participants. The students (3 women and 3 men) ranged between 23 and 28 years of age and were all enrolled at a sports university college in one of Sweden’s largest cities. All of the participants had teaching experience, either from teacher training or from previous employment. Five of the participants did their fourth semester and one did his second semester. In practice, we filmed semi-structured interviews walking and talking through the changing room practices in situ. The research participants selected changing rooms at the university college. For ethical reasons, the research participants were fully dressed and the changing rooms were empty of other people. Besides the interviews taking place in a potentially compromising space, video recording may be more intrusive than other methods (Öhman and Quennerstedt 2012). Therefore, ethical consideration was of utmost importance and strict measures were continuously taken into account (Pink 2015; Vetenskapsrådet, 2002). The video recordings provided rich and multi-layered data in line with Pink and Morgan (2013) who argue that the intensity and depth of content may be well captured through visual methods. In our study, in the actual changing room, the video recordings allowed participants to describe the multisensory experiences and different strategies for various types of movement, such as going in and out of the shower and the different stages of getting dressed or undressed. The recordings lasted on average 39 minutes. Transcription included spoken language, bodily comportment and spatial location. Extreme accuracy was applied in the transcription where a word-by-word approach was used. Each spoken word and meaningful pause, bodily action, facial expression and movement was transcribed (Knoblauch, Tuma & Schnettler, 2014; Kvale, 2007). The data was analysed for content by coding, categorizing and finally thematising. This process was guided by the research questions and the theoretical framework, but it was an open and inductive enterprise (Julien, 2008).
The research participants in our study can be categorised as young adults having experiences from various changing rooms both as pupils, students, teachers-in-training and as a persons with interest for physical activity, making them rich in experience, especially in school settings. The study indicated affective scenes of shame in changing room practice for these teachers-to-be. The affect of shame was detected and structured by previous experiences and the material and social condition of the room. Some positive affect was also detected, such as joy. As a response to the affect of shame, the participants used shame-management scripts. These were adhering to their practices as in the choice of a spot, positioning, high pace, and always being covered by towel or clothes. Some macho scripts were also detected. Despite the affect of shame and the use of shame-management scripts, the overall perception of changing rooms was good and associated with positive experiences. These experiences arose most often from circumstances surrounding the changing room rather than from the changing room itself, such as physical activity and the lingering feeling of freshness. The results in our study are consistent with previous studies in observing dilemmas in the changing rooms, involving discomfort, experiences of unwanted visibility, and shame. It is also in line with previous research which shows how these experiences sometimes lead to alternative ways to cater for hygiene. These findings are troublesome as previous research has suggested that both younger children and adults seem to cope better in the changing rooms compared to adolescents. The research participants expressed great concern about their future professional challenges and reflected lengthily on strategies to make changing room practices smooth for their future pupils. For example, they would try to obtain a laid back attitude towards menstruation.
Andreassen, K, Christensen, M. & Møller, J. (2019) Focused ethnography as an approach in medical education research. Medical education, 54:4, 296-302. Couturier, LE., Chepko, S., Coughlin, MA. (2005). Student Voices – What Middle and High School Students Have to Say about Physical Education. Physical Educator, 62:4. 170–178. Couturier, LE., Chepko, S., Coughlin, MA. (2007). Whose Gym Is It? Gendered Perspectives on Middle and Secondary School Physical Education. Physical Educator, 64:3, 152–159. Frydendal, S., & Friis Thing, L. (2020) A shameful affair? A figurational study of the change room and showering culture connected to physical education in Danish upper secondary schools. Sport, Education and Society, 25:2, 161–172. Julien, H. (2008). Content analysis. In Given, L. M. (Ed). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods (1st ed., pp. 121–122). Sage. Knoblauch, H., Tuma, R., & Schnettler, B. (2014). Video analysis and videography. In U. Flick. (Ed). The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis (1st ed., pp. 435–449). Sage. Mordahl Moen, K., Westli, K., Skille, EÅ. (2017). Nakenhet som allmenndanning. Garderobesituasjon og kroppsovning slik norske grunnskoleelever opplever det. Norsk Pedagogiks Tidskrift, 101:1, 5–18. O’Donovan, T., Sandford, R., & Kirk, D. (2015). Bourdieu in the changing room. In L. Hunter, W. Smith, & E. Emerald (Eds.), Pierre Bourdieu and physical culture. Routledge. 57-64. Pink, S., & Morgan, J. (2013). Short term ethnography: Intense routes to knowing. Symbolic Interaction, 36(3), 351-361. Pink, S., 2015. Doing sensory ethnography. 2nd ed. Sage. Sandercock, GRH., Ogunleye, A., Voss, C. (2016). Associations between showering behaviours following physical education, physical activity and fitness in English schoolchildren. European Journal of Sport Science, 16:1, 128-134. Tomkins, S. (1962; 1963; 1991). Affect, imagery and consciousness. Vol. I, II and III. Springer. Tomkins, S. & Demos, E. V. (1995). Exploring Affect: The Selected Writings of Silvan S Tomkins. Cambridge University Press. Probyn, E. (2005). Blush. Faces of shame. University of Minnesota Press. Pink, S. & Morgan, J. (2013). Short‐term ethnography: Intense routes to knowing. Symbolic Interaction, 36(3), 351-361. Pink, S. (2015). Doing sensory ethnography. (2nd ed.). Sage. Öhman, M., & Quennerstedt, M. (2012). Observational studies. In Armour, K., & Macdonald, D. (Eds). Research Methods in Physical Education and Youth Sport (1st ed., pp. 189–2013). Routledge. Pink, S. (2015). Doing sensory ethnography. (2nd ed.) London: Sage. Öhman, M., & Quennerstedt, M. (2012). Observational studies. In Armour, K., & Macdonald, D. (Eds). Research Methods in Physical Education and Youth Sport (1st ed., pp. 189–2013). Routledge.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.