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Goldsmiths - University of London

Youth Culture, Physical Education and the Question of Relevance: After 20 Years, a reply to Tinning and Fitzclarence

Hickey Moody, Anna; Gard, Michael and Enright, Eimear. 2012. Youth Culture, Physical Education and the Question of Relevance: After 20 Years, a reply to Tinning and Fitzclarence. Education, Sport and Society, 18(1), pp. 97-114. ISSN 1357-3322 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article is an attempt to think through the idea that physical education should draw from youth culture in order to be more ‘relevant’ to students. We begin by revisiting Tinning and Fitzclarence's 1992 article ‘Postmodern youth culture and the crisis in Australian secondary school physical education’ in which they essentially argued that young people were bored by physical education because it had failed to keep pace with the pleasures they derive from consumer culture. With this as a starting point, we try to both critique and extend Tinning and Fizclarence's ideas by drawing on two broad areas of scholarship; cultural studies of youth and participatory action research. Our purpose here is twofold. First, we want to help clarify what might be meant by the terms ‘youth culture’ and ‘relevance’. Flowing on from this, we suggest some directions for practice and research. These suggestions are not ‘solutions’ and we are at pains to argue that the ‘relevance problem’ may in fact be an unwitting shorthand for a range of related but distinct challenges. Because of this, as well as our own differing perspectives, we propose contradictory paths forward, including both more and less interest in student subjectivity and more and less allowance for student autonomy.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Physical education, Youth culture, Cultural studies, Student voice, Relevance

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies



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Date Deposited:

15 Jul 2015 15:17

Last Modified:

15 Jul 2015 15:17

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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