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Ett ämne i rörelse: gymnastik för kvinnor och män i lärarutbildningen vid Gymnastiska centralinstitutet/Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan under åren 1944 till 1992
Stockholm University, The Stockholm Institute of Education, Department of Social and Cultural Studies in Education .
Stockholm University, The Stockholm Institute of Education, Department of Social and Cultural Studies in Education .
2003 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

For almost 200 years the University College of Physical Education and Sports in Stockholm (former Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics; GCI later GIH; Stockholm College of Physical Education and Sports) has been educating PE teachers - and still does. In the very beginning and throughout the first 100 years, gymnastics was a major part of the studies at the institute, and also in ordinary schools. Early gymnastics were invented by Per Henrik Ling, the father of the Swedish Ling gymnastics, and later developed by his son, Hjalmar Ling. The part of the Ling system called pedagogical gymnastics, consisted of “daily gymnastic training exercises”, which showed how gymnastics should be taught and performed.

The aim of this thesis is to follow and describe gymnastics as a subject and its development at the PE teacher-training programme at GCI/GIH. Special attention is placed on the movement part without apparatus (the floor exercise) for male and female students. The time period studied is 1944 to 1992. The thesis consists of two separate empirical studies, with a shared interview study of 12 former teacher educators participating in both studies. Besides the above-mentioned interviews, the methods used are document analyses and visual analyses. Triangulation is used in order to follow the changes of the subject’s content, figuration and representation.

The first empirical study investigates the institution of gymnastics’- collective memory, its content and legitimacy. This is done by looking at what time was allotted to the subject in relation to other subjects, and also which concepts were used in relation to floor exercise. The interviews deal with the objectives of the subject and what kind of influences the former teacher educators came in contact with. From a semiotic approach, the second study deals with visual analyses of film sequences, with floor exercises performed by male and female students. (See enclosed CD). The film material comes from the Institute’s events. The content and composition of the film sequences are analysed, and the representation of the movements is interpreted by semiotic discourse analyses. The interview study deals with the former teacher educators’ pedagogical view of the formation of the gymnastics.

The results show that in 1944 the subject gymnastics took approximately 40% of the total study time. In 1992 the time allocated for gymnastics has been reduced to approximately 9%. From the 1940s to the 1970s, two separate gymnastics discourses existed, one male and one female, expressed in the movement content and in the figuration of movements. The male discourse was maintained almost intact, without any changes. The female discourse, on the other hand, was continually changed and developed over the actual period of time, strongly influenced by rhythmic and dance. When coeducation was implemented in the late 1970s, a new culture of body movements was developed – which was unisex. Between 1949 and1970 in the film material, the masculine discourse was represented by the body image of a systematically trained and disciplined body, executing corrective gymnastics exercises, according to an instrumental way of looking at physical training. The smooth, healthy looking young body image of a woman, executing rhythmical aesthetical gymnastics, according to existing values, characterised the feminine discourse. There seems to have been aesthetics fostering rationality that ruled the female gymnastics. In 1985 the representation of the body image changed, and focus on the performance of the movements disappeared. The objectives of the subject have changed from the collective, corrective and/or aesthetical form of gymnastics to a gymnastic discourse where the attention of simplifying the movements, the individual and the social climate in the group are central.

Finally, the findings show that four factors have influenced the changes and development of the subject and the teacher-training programme. Firstly, changes in society in terms of equality, gender roles and a changed role of the PE teacher. Secondly, the impact of the sport discourse outweighed the status of the gymnastics discourse and its legitimacy. The cultivating values, in terms of the aesthetical schooling for the female students, disappeared. Thirdly, the striving for research-related instructions in the teachertraining programme, (urged by the state from 1977) affected both time allotments for gymnastics and sports and the relation between theoretical and practical courses. Finally, over the years, the subject gymnastics has been strongly influenced by different scientific discourses: first the medical discourse, followed by the physiological discourse and from the1980s and on, by the social scientific (pedagogical) discourse.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: HLS Förlag, 2003. , 332 p.
Studies in educational sciences, ISSN 1400-478X ; 65
Keyword [en]
Ling gymnastics, Physical Education, teacher-training programme, Ling, gymnastics, gymnastics discourse, floor exercise, co-education, body movement culture, gender, institution, collective memory, legitimacy, sesemiotic, visual analysis, figuration, representation, aesthetics
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104109ISBN: 91-7656-547-5OAI: diva2:720959
Public defence
2003-05-23, Aulan, Idrottshögskolan i Stockholm, Lidingövägen 1, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-06-03 Created: 2014-06-03 Last updated: 2014-06-03Bibliographically approved

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