Gender, visible bodies and schooling: cultural pathologies of childhood

Paechter, Carrie F.. 2011. Gender, visible bodies and schooling: cultural pathologies of childhood. Sport, Education and Society, 16(3), pp. 309-322. ISSN 1357-3322 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this paper I consider two interrelated problems. The first concerns the issues and difficulties involved in studying how children think about their bodies, in the schooling setting. The second involves an attempt to bring together a series of phenomena around which gendered media and social panics are being constructed in the UK and elsewhere.
I discuss the problems concerned with the practicalities of studying children’s bodies in a setting in which the body is effaced. I argue that the problems arising from this effacement are compounded by children’s embarrassment about their bodies, particularly in a situation in which bodies are supposed to be invisible. Related to this, I argue that children’s and young people’s bodies that are made visible in schools and other public or semi-public arenas are rendered pathological by that very visibility. I suggest that we can see all these metaphorically pathological bodies in terms of a failure of or resistance to the disciplinary institutions of the school and the family, and that such an understanding of ‘problematic’ bodies can help us to see what they have in common. I conclude with suggestions for future research.

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Author Posting. 'Copyright Holder', 2011.
This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Taylor and Francis for personal use, not for redistribution.
The definitive version was published in Sport, Education and Society, Volume 16 Issue 3, June 2011.
doi:10.1080/13573322.2011.552573 (

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies
Research Office > REF2014


June 2011Published

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Date Deposited:

13 Jun 2011 12:07

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 09:38

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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