Library > Issue 136 > Body Culture and Stereotypes in Photographs in the Physical Education Textbooks Published during the Organic Education Law

Body Culture and Stereotypes in Photographs in the Physical Education Textbooks Published during the Organic Education Law

Alba González-Palomares

Abstract

The overarching objectives of this doctoral dissertation are to describe the body culture conveyed in the photographs in Physical Education textbooks for secondary school and to analyse the gender, age and disability stereotypes associated with the motor expressions depicted in these pictures. Previous studies analysing the content of the pictures in books in this subject found that these materials reproduced an imaginary that reduced the complexity of the social reality and led to biased beliefs in students regarding the body culture by reproducing stereotypes that limit the diversity of practices according to gender, age and ability. Therefore, it is important to oversee these materials in order to ensure that changes have been made in the messages sent via the pictures and to better plan actions. A descriptive study was performed whose core technique was content analysis. The sample was 6,773 photographs from 12 different Spanish publishing houses. In order to conduct the content analysis, an ad-hoc adaptation of an instrument used in previous studies was used. The pilot test, consultations with experts and intercoder tests are the scientific criteria endorsing the instrument. For the statistical analysis, SPSS 20.0 software was used. A univariate and bivariate analysis was performed, and Pearson’s chi-squared test was applied. The results indicated a distinct representation of body culture according to gender, age, disability and the diversity of motor expressions. The books focus on a young, able-bodied, male model. There is a clear inequality in the representation of women, adults, the elderly and persons with disabilities compared to the representation of men, children, adolescents, young adults and people without disabilities. The books also specifically assign motor expressions according to the group represented. The presence of photographs with famous brands or logos on the clothing worn reinforces the brand-craze phenomenon among students. The pictures reproduce sports sponsorship; thus, the field of education is contributing to private commercial interests. Signs of change compared to the previous law were detected, because the results show a slight increase in the representation of women and a closer association with the practice of athletic motor expression. People with disabilities are beginning to be represented in artistic expressions, physical-sport fitness and physical conditioning activities, and outdoor adventure physical activities, as well as in educational and utilitarian fields. The representation of contents associated with sports and physical fitness and physical conditioning activities increased, while the representation of activities in nature, artistic activities and games decreased.

Key words

Physical Education, textbooks, content analysis, gender, age, disability, motor expression, brand
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