PosterPDF Available

No Individual Well-Being, no Social Equity? Psychosocial Disconcertment in Physical Education



Winner of the Poster Award
SSEL Cluster Conference on Social Responsibility in Challenging Times, University of Tartu/Estonia, 7–8th October 2021
No Individual Well-Being, no Social Equity? Psychosocial Disconcertment in Physical Education
Ina Hunger, Benjamin Zander, Babette Kirchner, Darren Meineke, Sarah Metz, Martin Röttger
Institute of Sport Science, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany
School education intends to improve the physical and mental well-
being of students. However, especially physical education (PE) can also
massively endanger it. Existing studies regarding students’ health
primarily focus on physical injuries. But how psychosocial aspects, like
experiences of disconcertment, impact the individual well-being is
rarely researched. [1][2][3]
The study (duration: 2020–24) investigates, which didactic frameworks
and social actions in PE evoke and/or increase psychosocially unsettling
situations and potential lifelong effects. [4][5]
Divided into three sub-studies, the research questions are:
How and when do students recognize situations as disconcerting?
What strategies do they develop to solve or avoid further
What are the health-related long-term effects (former) students
Project Management
Prof. Dr. Ina Hunger and Dr. Benjamin Zander
Institute of Sport Science, Department of Sports Education/Didactics
Sprangerweg 2, 37075 Göttingen, Germany
Focused, Written
Overview into associated social and didactic
settings that may induce disconcertment
Focus: who is affected, in what way, under
which circumstances
Insight into subjective perspectives of those
(formerly) affected
Focus: impact on affected person‘s everyday
life and biography
Overview into societal discourses
Focus: legitimate speaker positions,
affections and consequences
concerning disconcertment, health
and body norms
Preliminary Findings
The data shows that students experience disconcertment in many ways during
physical education. The subjective interpretation as disconcertment is often
correlated with other categories of social inequality (such as class, gender,
Physical education acts as a framework in which:
social norms of health and body are reproduced,
social inequity can endanger subjective well-being,
social equity is being risked.
Following the Grounded Theory[6] methodology,
a wide range of data is collected and evaluated:
Networking – we are interested!
Concerning research on
disconcertment & similar topics
sportive & didactic settings
national & international
Martin Röttger
Federal state insurances of
North Rhine-Westphalia,
Hesse, Berlin, Brandenburg
[1] Munk, M., & Agergaard, S. (2015). The Processes of Inclusion and Exclusion in Physical Education: A Social-Relational Perspective. Social Inclusion,
3(3), 67–81.
[2] Mierzwinski, M., Cock, S., & Velija, P. (2019). A Position Statement o n Social Justice, Physical Education, and Bullying: A Figurational Sociological
Perspective. Quest, 71(2), 215–226.
[3] Røset, L., Green, K., & Thurston, M. (202 0). ‘Even if you don’t care…you do care after all’: ‘Othering’ and physical education in Norway. European
Physical Education Review, 26(3), 622–641.
[4] Berger, P.L., & Luckmann, T. (1967). The Social Co nstruction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Anchor.
[5] Hunger, I., & Böhlke, N. (2018). On the Boundaries of Shame. A Qualitative Study of Situations of Overstepping Boundaries (of Shame) in Physical
Education as Seen from the Students' Perspective. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18(2), 60 paragraphs.
[6] Glaser, B.G., & Strauss, A.L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory. Strategies for Qualitative Research. Aldine Publishing Company.
[7] White, K. (2012). The Body, Social Inequality and Health. In B.S. Turner (Ed.). Routledge Handbook of Body Studies. Routledge, 264–274 .
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
Existing research on inclusion and exclusion processes in physical education (PE) has particularly focused on exclusion from PE as something being done to students and attributed to specific social categories such as (female) gender, (low) physical skills or (minority) ethnic background. This article aims to develop a social-relational perspective on inclusion and exclusion processes defined as students’ participation or non-participation in PE interpreted as a community of practice. In so doing, the article examines how students’ experiences of participation and non-participation in PE are influenced by complex interactions within the group of students and in negotiations with teachers about the values and practices of PE. The article is based on an embedded single-case study carried out over the course of 6 months through weekly observations of PE classes in a multi-ethnic school, as well as focus group interviews with students and teachers. Using Etienne Wenger’s conceptual tools, we show that a student’s degree of participation in the community of practice of PE-classes is closely related to the legitimacy of the student and the extent to which the student experiences PE as meaningful. Some students were excluded from PE because they did not have the physical skills and social relations necessary to gain legitimacy from other students. Others chose not to participate because PE was not meaningful to them. This latter type of non-participation from students who experienced lacking meaningfulness was evident in PE classes that had little transfer value and limited prospect for students to develop the knowledge, skills or the understanding necessary to move towards full participation in the classes. Thus, the article argues that an understanding of the variety in students’ participation or non-participation is important not only in terms of how we talk about students as passive victims or active agents, but also in terms of future intervention aimed at promoting inclusion processes in PE.
In the past decade or more, improving young people’s mental health has been identified as a priority for policy-makers in many countries, including Norway. Physical education, as a setting for physical activity, is increasingly viewed as having a potentially significant role to play in addressing mental health among the young. This paper reports the findings from a study of 148 Norwegian youngsters (68 girls and 80 boys) from the 10th grade (15–16 years old) in eight secondary schools in Norway in 2017. It explores Norwegian youngsters’ experiences of physical education in relation to aspects of their mental health – specifically, being judged and, by extension, ‘othered’. The findings suggest that physical education may undoubtedly serve to generate positive feelings associated with physical activity and games and, in doing so, bolster some youngsters’ self-esteem and self-identities. On the other hand, however, for those less competent in sporting terms, and whose bodily self-image is not particularly positive, the public nature of physical education and the nature of the activities that constitute the subject can give rise to unplanned and unintended harm to some youngsters’ mental health – especially in countries, such as Norway, where sport is a significant aspect of the group habitus and collective ‘we-group’ identity.
Bullying is increasingly considered to be an important moral, political, and social issue within modern society. Academic research on this issue has mostly been examined through a psychological lens, often using questionnaire data to examine and explain the prevalence of different types of bullying. In this position statement, we apply a figurational sociological perspective to examine issues of school-based bullying in physical education. We critically reflect on attempts to position bullying amongst young people as a “social justice” issue and argue that core figurational principles might potentially help researchers strive toward a more reality-congruent means of conceptualizing the power-relationships that are inherent within bullying. We further maintain that the development of a more detached understanding of issues relating to bullying might provide a more adequate basis to contribute to future ongoing policy development.
This article reviews writings about water with a focus on health from the social and behavioral sciences. In addition, issues related to the equitable distribution of water resources such as potable water and their health consequences are discussed. A case study of one water-related disease (cholera) is used to exemplify the inexorable consequences of the failure to provide clean water and sanitation equitably. The reader also will be introduced to the magic triangle of water, health, and hygiene captured in the Global WASH (water, sanitation, and health) Campaign to include sanitation as a target of the Millennium Development Goals.
On the Boundaries of Shame. A Qualitative Study of Situations of Overstepping Boundaries (of Shame) in Physical Education as Seen from the Students' Perspective
  • I Hunger
  • N Böhlke
Hunger, I., & Böhlke, N. (2018). On the Boundaries of Shame. A Qualitative Study of Situations of Overstepping Boundaries (of Shame) in Physical Education as Seen from the Students' Perspective. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18(2), 60 paragraphs.