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Physical Activities and Their Relation to Physical Education: A 200-Year Perspective and Future Challenges

Suzanne Lundvall, Peter Schantz


In this macrolevel overview, a model of the multiplicity of the field of bodily movement cultures is initially presented. The model is then used to illuminate how different bodily movement practices emerged over time, became embedded, remained, faded, or disappeared in the world’s oldest physical education teacher education (PETE) program. Through this continuity and discontinuity of practices, five distinct phases are identified, although sometimes intertwined, and their contextual background is described. The first phase is characterized by the establishment of Ling gymnastics from the early 19th century and by its fall in the 20th century. The next phase started in the late 19th century and dealt with the introduction of sports and outdoor life. During a third phase, sports became the dominating movement practice. The fourth phase is related to the rise and fall of a separate female gymnastics culture during the 20th century. The fifth phase is characterized by the introduction of everyday life physical activities at the beginning of the new millennium. The overview is followed by reflections on the future content of bodily movement practices and sought-after values in PETE and physical education in the school system.


PETE; physical education; physical culture; bodily movement practice; legitimacy; logic of practice; gymnastics; sport; everyday life physical activities; outdoor life

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