Introduction: are we making a difference?

Richard Pringle, Håkan Larsson (Editor), Göran Gerdin

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    The point of critical research, according to Karl Marx, is not simply to know the world but to change it. Indeed, when one knows there are injustices in the world, then there appears a remit to try and make a difference. In this chapter we, correspondingly, introduce why we are examining the capacity of critical research within the fields of sport, health and physical education to challenge injustices and produce social transformation. We raise concerns that many of the prime critical research topics within our fields have been repeatedly examined yet often draw similar conclusions. In this respect, we suggest that our ability to orchestrate change in our fields appears to have been somewhat underwhelming. On this somber note, we then introduce the prime aims of the text and discuss how we invited leading scholars in the fields of sport, health and physical education to reflect upon the influence that critical research has had with respect to select social issues or injustices. To provide coherence across the differing chapters we encouraged our contributors to structure their chapters via three broad aims of critical research: mapping, critiquing and social change (see Markula and Silk, 2011). The text is structured into three main sections: the first section examines critical socio-cultural examinations of sport; the second explores critical perspectives and social change within school physical education and the third explores issues concerned with health and wellbeing in education and broader socio-cultural contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCritical Research in Sport, Health and Physical Education
    Subtitle of host publicationHow to Make a Difference
    EditorsRichard Pringle, Håkan Larsson, Göran Gerdin
    Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
    Number of pages24
    ISBN (Electronic)9780203702598
    ISBN (Print)9781138571679
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society


    • Critical research
    • sociology of sport
    • Physical education
    • critical health research
    • public sociology

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