Feminist Theories of Sport, Leisure and Physical Education

  • Jayne Caudwell
  • Belinda Wheaton
  • Beccy Watson
  • Louise Mansfield


This theme of the handbook illustrates the diverse ways that feminists have made and continue to make sense of gender in sport, leisure and PE. As a collection, the nine chapters examine the intellectual repertoires that have shaped vibrant feminist debates and competing and complementary conceptual approaches to gender, sexualities, race and ethnicities. The chapters identify and elucidate how and why different theoretical perspectives have given direction to empirical study, critical analyses and conceptual development. As a collection the chapters offer a range of approaches and it is this diversity of critical analyses that makes feminist theory dynamic and generative. Some time ago, Susan Birrell (2000) argued that it is the ongoing debates within feminism that help produce the integrity of feminist theory. Instead of viewing the various schisms of feminism as reducing the analytic power of feminist theory, it is argued that the range of feminist points of view work to strengthen the depth and detail of feminist theory, and its potential to provide robust explanations of the intricacies surrounding gendered power relations.


  1. Birrell, S. (2000). Feminist theories for sport. In J. Coakley & E. Dunning (Eds.), Handbook of sports studies (pp. 61–76). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Caudwell, J. (2011). Sport feminism(s): Narratives of linearity? Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 35(2), 111–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jayne Caudwell
    • 1
  • Belinda Wheaton
    • 2
  • Beccy Watson
    • 3
  • Louise Mansfield
    • 4
  1. 1.Bournemouth UniversityPooleUK
  2. 2.University of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand
  3. 3.Leeds Beckett UniversityLeedsUK
  4. 4.Brunel UniversityLondonUK

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