Case studies exploring cultural and religious diversity
This paper contains a sociocultural analysis of school sport experiences of Muslim girls in two countries with different gender policies in physical education (PE) classes: England and Denmark. In Denmark, PE lessons take place in co-educative classes, in England schools are more diverse, with predominantly co-educational but also single-sex and faith schools offering different learning contexts. Two case studies from Denmark and England are used to explore the experiences of migrant Muslim girls in these different settings. A social constructionist approach to gender underpins the interpretation of stakeholders’ voices on the inclusion of Muslim girls and the analysis of PE discourses in these countries. Findings illustrate similarities and differences at the interface of cultural diversity, political rhetoric of inclusion and realities of sport experiences for Muslim girls in both countries. Complex influences on PE experiences include gender stereotypes, cultural and religious orientations and practices, as well as actions and expectations of parents, communities and coaches/teachers. The studies provide insights into the ways participants managed their identities as Muslim girls in different sport environments to enable participation and retention of their cultural identities. Highlighted throughout the paper are the ways in which school sport policy and practice, providers and gatekeepers, can include or exclude groups, in this case Muslim girls. Too often coaches and teachers are unaware of crucial facts about their learners, not only in terms of their physical development and capabilities but also in terms of their cultural needs. Mistakes in creating conducive learning environments leave young people to negotiate a way to participate or refrain from participation.
European Journal of Sport Science, 2013, Vol 13, Issue 5, p. 567-574