Living links and gender resources : the social construction of masculinities in teaching physical education
This study is a conceptually driven exploration of the life worlds of male Physical Education teachers and the social construction of masculinity. Its focus is twofold: Firstly it asks questions of what gendered resources Physical Education teachers draw on in their teaching? How do they obtain and deploy these resources? What is their social significance? It asks these questions of a cohort of student male Physical Education teachers, as they pass through their teacher education year. Secondly, it asks how might we best represent these gendered masculine resources in social terms? Can we assemble alternative ways of articulating the masculine body-self-society complex in this context? The methodological approach is qualitative, social constructivist and employs a life history strategy. The participants were purposefully sampled and interviewed in depth, as they made the transition from student teacher to teacher. The study draws on the empirical data to illustrate and develop conceptual understandings of the problematic. In so doing, it highlights the social importance of remote and current gendered biography as a resource for action in teaching. These men's biographys are shown to link them to their gendered life experiences, which centre on a lifetime of successful involvement in the culturally dominant masculine arenas of sport and Physical Education. The linkages are expressed as a set of intellectual and embodied dispositions that provide the resources for action - the habitus. Furthermore, these men are shown to be sensitive to the presentation of their masculine selves and possess multiple masculinities, which they deploy according to their interpretations of the specific contexts in which theyfind themselves. The contention here is that the deployment and display ofparticular forms of masculinities are contingent on the possession of the necessary alternative resources in their habitus - which are very often missing. As a consequence, we see dominant masculine displays being drawn on as a default, or master identity in teaching. This perspective suggests implications for the social reconstruction of legitimatized gender ontologies being presented to children. The conclusion makes some conceptual suggestions on how we might use these insights to address the deficits in gendered resources that are available to these men and others like them, in order to allow them to express broader ranges of masculinities through their teaching.