The context of movement and its social ecology

Year: 2009

Author: Brown, Trent, Bennett, Rosemary, Ward, Laura, Payne, Phillip

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The role of the subjective, intrinsic notions of the body as it primarily relates to movement discourses within educational settings, such as schools, community sporting clubs, the neighbourhood or the home is not well understood. The need to develop such understandings within the moving and bodily related learning areas such as physical/outdoor/dance/environmental education is warranted, as a revitalized notion of movement, and the various contexts in which movement occurs enables deeper consideration of sentient, feeling and kinaesthetic responses of the human body 'in' movement.

To consolidate and pursue the importance of the concept(s) of movement and its social ecology (Brown and Payne, 2008) such qualities, characteristics and dimensions of the movement concept must now be explored through contextualisation in these various movement related settings. As movement and moving related activities take place in various contexts, we gesture towards colleagues work in papers/presentations on environment (E) and community (C) and how such concepts individually and holistically form the trans-disciplinary potential of 'social ecology of education.'

Movement is basic to bodily practices but this 'primacy of practice/movement' is not well appreciated in the current education literature. A reconceptualised notion of movement in physical, outdoor, environmental, health and experiential education does not appear to yet get at the 'heart' of context. Where meaning-making, kinesthesis, bodily consciousness and somaesthetic understanding is offered in a positive manner, to intelligent responses to the otherwise deficit-discourses and negative rhetoric about anthropocentric and/or ecocentric 'risks' such as global warming, ozone layers, or lifestyle diseases such as the obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity, sedentary behaviours and disengagement in schools, the context of the moving body are yet to comprehensively reach these same contextual levels.

Our task as we see it is to move beyond practices of conceptualising, theorising and philosophising to a more pragmatic approach where the moving, feeling, sentient body is better understood in the differing contexts of physical education, dance, outdoor education, sport, coaching, fitness/personal training. Such contextualising, for the purposes of this paper, draws primarily on the phenomenology of movement and the body as it pertains to the physical education discourses in explaining human, social, cultural, more-than-human and environmental concerns that influence the ethico-political and intergenerational dimensions of the movement concept.

Therefore, in this paper we focus on differing cases where the intrinsic qualities and intricacies of movement are acknowledged as part of the movement concept, but that contextual issues for the practitioner, be it physical/outdoor education teacher, recreation planner or health promotion professional are examined. In presenting these cases in 'context' we gesture towards deeper layers where traditional cultural concepts of social class, gender, ethnicity may be reinterpreted through and within the 'concept and context of movement and its social ecology' in an effort to inform curriculum theory, development and pedagogy as it pertains to movement and related pedagogies.

This paper will be presented as part of Symposium 29, CUT091286 Contextual issues in the social ecology of movement, environment and community (MEC).

Key Phrase: General