Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Education


This thesis is a cross-cultural comparative analysis of the physical education taught in secondary schools in France and Australia. My study begins with an analysis of embodied citizenship. Embodied citizenship comprises both explicit and implicit forms of habitus as structured through government institutions and regulations, for example, the legal requirements of citizenship as well as the informal social constructs of citizenship such as belonging. While the formal rules of citizenship have been amended over the centuries to provide greater equality (for example between men and women), tacit and unspoken rules and beliefs and the marketplace maintain forms of exclusionary behaviour for citizens. This includes state instituted practices such as public commemorations, national and local celebrations and award ceremonies, particularly those related to the remembrance war and the founding of nation-states. The second half of this study takes this theoretical framework to examine the politics and practices of physical education in schools. Physical education is an example of a state-instituted practice designed to help develop 'good' citizens, obedient and efficient. In order to do this, a Foucauldian network of expertise and skills has emerged to 'regulate' the discipline of physical education and draws upon intercalated discourses of health, morality, sport, and physical activity. While the politics of physical education, in the shape of the school curriculum, espouse a doctrine of equality of citizens, the practices incorporate forms of differentiated embodied citizenship that continue to privilege and reward particular hegemonic characteristics. The value of cross-cultural analysis emerges with the comparison of political positioning of the French and NSW syllabi. As the later stages of my research shows, policy is one thing and classroom practices are often another. The personal engagement of teachers with discourses of physical culture is a major influence for implementing syllabi.

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