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Students’ Gendered Body Dispositions Toward (Non) Participation in Physical Education at an Urban Male High School in Makkah, Saudi Arabia
Drawing on Bourdieu’s relational theory of (gendered) body habitus, the purpose of this qualitative case study is to develop a better understanding of the embodied, gendered dispositions that influence Saudi male students’ experiences in physical education (PE). The paper reports data generated by semi-structured interviews with male students (n=27) between the ages of 15 and 20, all of whom attended a public secondary school in Makkah during the autumn of 2012. The study found that the concept of hygienic dispositions is an issue that concerns some students in ways that prevent them from participating in PE. With limited PE facilities (i.e. changing and showering rooms), masculine values (expressed both physically and verbally) impact attitudes towards participation in PE. Surprisingly, the Saudi adult masculine identity, so closely associated with traditional clothing (the thawb), is also a condition that influences PE students’ participation. As part of this study’s results, meanings attached to the thawb are analyzed, revealing social representations of masculinity and its cultural/social value (i.e. prestige, respect).

Physical education; Saudi male high school; masculinity; gendered body habitus

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