‘Racialised’ pedagogic practices influencing young Muslims’ physical culture

Symeon Dagkas, Lisa Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is growing concern surrounding the ‘racialised’ body and the way young people develop dispositions towards physical activity (PA) and sports, and more broadly to physical culture. This paper draws on Bourdieu's social theory in an effort to explore the ways in which the intersectionality of various fields (family, religion and school) and their dimensions (culture and social class) influence young Muslims' physical culture. Purpose: More specifically the paper examines the ‘racialised’ pedagogic practices in various fields that influence young Muslims' dispositions to physical culture. Method: The study reports on the voices of 40 participants identifying as young Muslims (12–15 years old; 20 girls and 20 boys) from one secondary school in the South of England, UK. A case study approach was used to explore participants’ understanding, meaning, structural conditions and personal agency with regard to physical culture and ‘racialised’ body pedagogies. Data include semi-structured paired interviews with participants. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. More specifically, thematic analysis based on the notion of ‘fields' informed deductive and inductive procedures. Findings: Results suggested that religion had limited influence on the participants' agency when intersecting with schooling and social class with regard to embodiment of active physical culture. Economic capital, on the other hand, had a considerable influence on participants’ physical culture as it contributed to young people's access to PA opportunities, agency and body pedagogies. In addition, the study concludes that fields outside the school play a significant role in influencing and enabling young Muslims’ physical culture. Conclusions: One of the most significant implications of this study is emphasising that young Muslims should not be viewed as a homogenous group as various fields intersect to influence their participation in physical education and their embodiment of physical culture. Identified fields and their markers make dispositions unique, dependent upon characteristics and their relative influence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-558
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • fields
  • physical culture
  • racialisation
  • racialised bodies

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