Why Some join in and Others don’t: Embodied Experiences of Male Students in Physical Education at a Saudi High School
Drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of bodily habitus, social capital, and physical capital, the purpose of this qualitative case study is to develop a better understanding of Saudi youth bodily dispositions that influence their experiences in physical education. The paper reports on qualitative data generated by observation as well as semi-structured interviews with 27 boys between the ages of 15 and 20. Family, neighborhood friends and peers have been found to be essential factors in shaping boys’ attitudes towards and experiences in PE. The production and conversion of physical capital to other forms of capital (e.g. social capital) is notable among students who are physically skillful, helping them to earn a more socially and academically privileged status. Students who are not skillful and come from constraining family circumstances (social/financial) are less able to distinguish themselves and may experience marginalization. This paper finds that a student’s sporting body is considered as an example of symbolic value (capital) and gives an account of how such bodies, and such values, are (re) produced.
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