• ‘It has really amazed me what my body can now do’: boundary work and the construction of a body-positive dance community

      Hill, Joanne; Sandford, Rachel; Enright, Eimear (Taylor & Francis, 2015-08-18)
      Boundaries around normative embodiments in physical cultures can be exclusionary if one’s embodied identity does not ‘fit’. Normative boundaries are particularly marked in codified forms of dance such as ballet. Moves towards body positivity aim to challenge these normative boundaries by redefining what dancers’ bodies can look like and how they should move. This paper stems from an appreciative inquiry undertaken with one such project, a gender-neutral, LGBTQ-friendly adult ballet school in the UK; a subcultural context that marks itself as distinct from broader cultures of dance. Interviews with learners are analysed through a Bourdieuian lens to explore the construction and maintenance of a body-positive subculture. Findings suggest that boundaries of ability were crossed, with celebration of all bodies’ capabilities, and boundaries of normative gender expression were transformed through a commitment to gender-neutrality and LGBTQ-friendly behaviours. However, boundaries around technical and aesthetic norms, while shifted or challenged, ultimately remained in place.
    • Looking beyond what's broken: towards an appreciative research agenda for physical education and sport pedagogy

      Enright, Eimear; Hill, Joanne; Sandford, Rachel; Gard, Michael (Taylor & Francis, 2014-04-22)
      Despite the volume of research devoted to the many ills that beset the pedagogical field of physical education and sport, we begin by arguing that there has been insufficient attention given to the way scholars conceptualise change and imagine bringing it about. In particular, we point to a tendency within the field to prioritise problems—what’s broken—and suggest that this tendency harbours a self-fulfilling logic. Although somewhat oversold by some of its advocates, we then draw on Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a potential intellectual resource for new agenda setting in physical education and sport pedagogy (PESP) research. AI invites researchers to prioritise the positive in the research contexts they study with a view to discovering and generating stories about success that research participants and scholars alike might build on.We argue that an appreciative agenda calls for more flexible and open communication about the start and imagined end points of our research, and a greater emphasis on collaboration that takes seriously the capacity of research participants to be the authors of change and the source of new directions in PESP inquiry.