HPE: Pedagogy, Feminism, Sexualities and Queer Theory

  • lisahunter


This chapter explores feminist interactions with physical education (HPE) in terms of the development and employment of queer theory, and links between associated research about sexualities and pedagogy in the field of HPE. I address some of the related fields dominating or marginalized in HPE research; I identify potential shifts in research and pose questions to imagine what a queer pedagogy of movement or physical culture might look. For instance, what would it mean for HPE and related research to take up queer worlding? Specifically, I highlight the work that is (still) necessary to recognize and challenge heterosexism, heteronormativity, misogyny, sexual violence and violence of identity-imposing limits to what or who physically educated individuals may be or become?


  1. Allen, L. (2005). Sexual subjects: Young people, sexuality and education. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, L., & Rasmussen, M. (2015). Queer conversation in straight spaces—an interview with Mary Lou Rasmussen about queer theory in higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 34(4), 685–694. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berg, P., & Lahelma, E. (2010). Gendering processes in the field of physical education. Gender & Education, 22(1), 31–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Block, B. (2014). Supporting LGBTQ students in physical education: Changing the movement landscape. Quest, 66(1), 14–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J. (1977). Reproduction: In education, society and culture. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  6. Bramham, P. (2003). Boys, masculinities and PE. Sport, Education and Society, 8(1), 57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Britzman, D. (1995). Is there a queer pedagogy? Or, stop reading straight. Educational Theory, 45(2), 151–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, G. (2008). Urban (homo)sexualities: Ordinary cities and ordinary sexualities. Geography Compass, 2(4), 1215–1231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter: On the discursive limits of ‘sex’. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Campos, D. (2003). Diverse sexuality and schools: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.Google Scholar
  12. Caudwell, J. (2006). Sport, sexualities and queer/theory. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Clarke, G. (1992). Learning the language: Discourse analysis in physical education. In A. Sparkes (Ed.), Research in physical education and sport: Exploring alternative visions (pp. 146–166). London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  14. Clarke, G. (1996). Conforming and contesting with (a) difference: How lesbian students and teachers manage their identities. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 6(2), 191–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clarke, G. (1997). Playing a part: The lives of lesbian physical education teachers. In G. Clarke & B. Humberstone (Eds.), Researching women and sport (pp. 36–49). Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Clarke, G. (1998). Queering the pitch and coming out to play: Lesbians in physical education and sport. Sport, Education & Society, 3(2), 145–160. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Clarke, G. (1999). Strong women, deep closets: Lesbian and homophobia in sport. Sport, Education and Society, 4(2), 201–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Clarke, G. (2006). Sexuality and physical education. In D. Kirk & D. Macdonald (Eds.), Handbook of physical education (pp. 723–739). London: SAGE.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Denison, E., & Kitchen, A. (2015). Out on the fields: The first international study on homophobia in sport. Retrieved May 31, 2015, from
  20. Drummond, M. (2001). Boys’ bodies in the context of sport and physical activity: Implications for health. Journal of Physical Education New Zealand, 34(1), 53–64.Google Scholar
  21. Epstein, D., & Johnson, R. (1998). Schooling sexualities. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Fagrell, B., Larsson, H., & Redelius, K. (2011). The game within the game: Girls’ underperforming position in physical education. Gender & Education.
  23. Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. In H. Dreyfus & P. Rabinow (Eds.), Michel Foucault. Beyond structuralism and hermeneutics (pp. 308–326). New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  24. Foucault, M. (1997). The subject and power. In P. Rabinow (Ed.), Michel Foucault. Ethics, subjectivity and truth. Essential works of Foucault 1954–1984 (Vol. I). New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  25. Gard, M. (2001). Dancing around the “problem” of boys and dance. Discourse, 22(2), 213–225.Google Scholar
  26. Gard, M., Hickey-Moody, A., & Enright, E. (2013). Youth culture physical education and the question of relevance after 20 years a reply to Tinning and Fitzclarence. Sport, Education & Society, 18(1), 97–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gerdin, G. (2015). It’s not like you are less of a man just because you don’t play rugby’—Boys’ problematisation of gender during secondary school physical education lessons in New Zealand. Sport, Education & Society.
  28. Griffin, P. (1987). Homophobia, lesbians and women’s sports: An exploratory study. Paper presented at the 95th annual convention of the American Psychological Association, New York. Cited in Clarke, G. 2006. Sexuality and physical education. In D. Kirk & D. Macdonald (Eds.), Handbook of physical education (pp. 723–739). London: SAGE.Google Scholar
  29. Griffin, P. (1991). Identity management strategies among lesbian and gay educators. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 4(3), 189–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Griffin, P. (1992). Changing the game: Homophobia, sexism and lesbians in sport. Quest, 44(2), 251–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Griffin, P., & Genasci, J. (1990). Addressing homophobia in physical education: Responsibilities for teachers and researchers. In M. Messner & D. Sabo (Eds.), Sport, men and the gender order: Critical feminist perspectives (pp. 211–221). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  32. Grosz, E. (1995). Space, time, and perversion: Essays on the politics of bodies. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Halberstam, J. (1998). Female masculinity. Durham: Duke UP.Google Scholar
  34. Halberstam, J. (2005). In a queer time and place: Transgender bodies, subcultural lives. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Hall, D. (2003). Queer theories. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Haraway, D. (2008). When species meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  37. Hardman, K., & Marshall, J. (2000, April). World-wide survey of the state and status of school physical education: The final report to the International Olympic Committee. Manchester: University of Manchester.Google Scholar
  38. Harris, M., & Griffin, J. (1997). Stereotypes and personal beliefs about women physical education teachers. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, 6(1), 49–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hickey, C. (2008). Physical education, sport and hyper-masculinity in schools. Sport, Education and Society, 13(2), 147–161. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hill, J. (2015). Girls’ active identities: Navigating othering discourses of femininity, bodies and physical education. Gender & Education, 27(6), 666–684. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hunter, L. (2002). Young people, physical education, and transition: Understanding practices in the middle years of schooling. Doctoral Thesis, The University of Queensland, Brisbane.Google Scholar
  42. Hunter, L. (2004). Bourdieu and the social space of the PE class: Reproduction of Doxa through practice. Sport, Education and Society, 9(2), 175–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Jagose, A. (1996). Queer theory. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Jongmans, M. (2012). It’s just the way it is…’ or not? How physical education teachers categorise and normalise differences. Gender & Education, 24(7), 783–798.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kehily, M. (2002). Sexuality, gender and schooling: Shifting agendas in social learning. London: RoutledgeFalmer.Google Scholar
  46. Larsson, H., Fagrell, B., & Redelius, K. (2009). Queering physical education. Between benevolence towards girls and a tribute to masculinity. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 14(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Larsson, H., Quennerstedt, M., & Öhman, M. (2014). Heterotopias in physical education- towards a queer pedagogy? Gender & Education, 26(2), 135–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Larsson, H., Redelius, K., & Fagrell, B. (2011). Moving (in) the heterosexual matrix. On heteronormativity in secondary school physical education. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 16(1), 67–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lenskyj, H. (1986). Out of bounds: Women, sport and sexuality. Toronto: Women’s Press.Google Scholar
  50. Lenskyj, H. (1991). Women, sport and physical activity: Research and bibliography (2nd ed.). Ottawa: Sport Information Resource Centre.Google Scholar
  51. Letts, W., & Sears, J. (Eds.). (1999). Queering elementary education: Advancing the dialogue about sexualities and schooling. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  52. lisahunter. (2006a). Transition in social space as curriculum: Recreating who can ‘be’ in the middle years. Curriculum Perspectives, 26(1), 86–89.Google Scholar
  53. lisahunter. (2012a). What a queer place is school!? Journal of LGBT Youth, 9(1), 59–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. lisahunter. (2012b). You hurt me fizz-ed: The socially classed discursive practices of the PE lesson. In F. Dowling, H. Fitzgerald, & A. Flintoff (Eds.), Equity and difference in physical education, youth sport and health: A narrative approach (pp. 140–149). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. lisahunter. (2016). What a queer space is HPE, or is it yet? Queer theory, sexualities and pedagogy. Sport Education and Society.  doi: 10.1080/13573322.2017.1302416
  56. lisahunter, Futter-Puati, D., & Kelly, J. (2015). Pulling the monstrosity of (hetero)normativity out of the closet: Teacher education as a problem and an answer. In A. Gunn & L. Smith (Eds.), Sexual cultures in aotearoa/new zealand education (pp. 206–222). Dunedin: Otago University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Martino, W., & Pallotta-Chiarolli, M. (2005). Being normal is the only way to be: Adolescent perspectives on gender and school. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.Google Scholar
  58. Meyer, E. (2010). Gender and sexual diversity in schools: An introduction. New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Parker, A. (1996). The construction of masculinity with boys’ physical education. Gender and Education, 8(2), 141–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pinar, W. (1998). Queer theory in education. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  61. Prosser, J. (1998). Second skins: The body narratives of transsexuality. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Rasmussen, M. (2006). Becoming subjects: Sexualities and secondary schooling. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  63. Rasmussen, M., Rofes, E., & Talburt, S. (Eds.). (2004). Youth and sexualities: Pleasure, subversion, and insubordination in and out of schools. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  64. Rasmussen, M. L. (2015). Queer theory the international encyclopedia of human sexuality. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  65. Redelius, K., Fagrell, B., & Larsson, H. (2009). Symbolic capital in physical education and health: To be, to do or to know? That is the gendered question. Sport, Education and Society, 14(2), 245–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rofes, E. (2005). A radical rethinking of sexuality and schooling: Status quo or status queer? Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Scraton, S. (1990). Gender and physical education. Geelong, VIC: Deakin University.Google Scholar
  68. Scraton, S. (1992). Shaping up to womanhood: Gender and girls’ physical education. Buckingham: Open University.Google Scholar
  69. Scraton, S. (1993). Equality, coeducation and physical education. In J. Evans (Ed.), Equality, education and physical education (pp. 139–153). London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  70. Sedgwick, E. (1993). Queer and now. Tendencies. Durham: Duke UP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Sparkes, A. (1994). Self, silence and invisibility as a beginning teacher: A life history analysis of lesbian experience. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 15(1), 93–118. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Squires, S., & Sparkes, A. (1996). Circles of silence: Sexual identity in physical education and sport. Sport, Education and Society, 1(1), 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sykes, H. (1998a). Teaching bodies, learning desires: Feminist-poststructural life histories of heterosexual and lesbian physical education teachers in western Canada. PhD, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.Google Scholar
  74. Sykes, H. (1998b). Turning the closets inside/out: Towards a queer-feminist theory on women’s physical education. Sociology of Sport Journal, 15(2), 154–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sykes, H. (2001a). Understanding and overstanding: Feminist-poststructural life histories of physical education teachers. Qualitative Studies in Education, 14(1), 13–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Sykes, H. (2001b). Teaching bodies, learning desires. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April 10–14, Seattle, Washington.Google Scholar
  77. Sykes, H. (2001c). Pedagogies and life histories of non-heterosexual physical educators. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April 10–14, Seattle, Washington.Google Scholar
  78. Sykes, H. (2001d). Subversive pedagogies of/and lesbigay physical educators. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April 10–14, Seattle, Washington.Google Scholar
  79. Sykes, H. (2007). Anxious identification in ‘The Sopranos’ and sport: Psychoanalytic and queer theories of embodiment. Sport, Education & Society, 12(2), 127–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Sykes, H. (2009). The qbody project: From lesbians in physical education to queer bodies in/out of school. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 13(3), 238–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Sykes, H. (2011). Queer bodies: Sexualities, genders, & fatness in physical education. New York: Peter Lang.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Sykes, H., & Goldstein, T. (2004). From performed to performing ethnography: Translating life history research into anti-homophobia curriculum for a teacher education program. Teaching Education, 15(1), 41–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Talburt, S., & Rasmussen, M. (2010). ‘After-queer’ tendencies in queer research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 23(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Taylor, A., & Blaise, M. (2014). Queer worlding childhood. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35(3), 377–392.Google Scholar
  85. Taylor, Y., Hines, S., & Casey, M. (Eds.). (2011). Theorizing intersectionality and sexuality. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  86. Tinning, R., & Fitzclarence, L. (1994). Physical education for adolescents in the 1990s: The crisis of relevance. Changing Education: A Journal for Teachers and Administrators, 1(2), 4–5.Google Scholar
  87. Vertinsky, P. (1992). Reclaiming space, revisioning the body: The quest for gender-sensitive physical education. Quest, 44, 373–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Woods, S. (1992). Describing the experiences of lesbian physical educators: A phenomenological study. In A. Sparkes (Ed.), Research in physical education and sport: Exploring alternative visions (pp. 90–117). London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • lisahunter
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarHamiltonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations