Girls’ Presentations of Self in Physical Culture: A Consideration of Why Sport is Not Always the Answer

  • Eimear Enright


It is assumed that sport is a good thing and if a population does not have equitable access or indeed are seen not to take advantage of available opportunities to be physically active, there is a problem. Girls’ non- and dis-engagement from physical activity and sport has been particularly well documented. Historically, girls have been constructed as ‘the problem’ and blamed for not engaging. Drawing on data from the beginning phase of a three-year participatory action research project with Irish, working class, female teenagers, this chapter asks readers to consider contexts within which sport for all is not the primary answer but rather a secondary and partial response to inequity. Data for this chapter were primarily generated through a photovoice activity, which saw participants take and discuss images of the place and space of physical activity in their lives. I recruit Goffman’s (The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Random House, 1959) dramaturgical framework to think about how participants’ social identities and physicalities are constituted in and through the micro-practices their bodies perform in everyday spaces, and examine how and why participants have come to devalue sport and physical activity. Findings illustrate the nature and complexity of participants’ (ethnic/gendered/classed) experiences of inclusion and exclusion in, and rejection and acceptance of sport for all (and related) discourses.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eimear Enright
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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