Precarity, the health and wellbeing of children and young people, and pedagogies of affect in physical education-as-health promotion

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Schools have been identified as important sites for promoting social justice (Anyon, 2014) though they are also vulnerable to capture by interests that seek to preserve and further entrench an unequal and unjust status quo (Apple, 2013 ; Ball, 2017 ; Bourdieu and Passeron, 1990; Bernstein, 2000). Within this context schools in many educational jurisdictions have a responsibility for children’s and young people’s health and wellbeing. Increasing over the past two decades, school physical education has been identified within educational policy and scholarly advocacy as an important contributor to this task, as programmes are reconfigured by the notion of physical education-as-health promotion (Kirk, 2018). This development has accelerated in tandem with the increasing prevalence of precarity. The focus of this paper is on the possible response from physical education-as-health promotion to the increase in mental health issues among children and adolescents and to the rising influence of precarity more general. The position defended in the article is that physical educators can only face the educational challenges posed by the growing precariousness of society if they recognize the urgent need, in a perspective of inclusion and social justice, to consider the inseparability of affect and the power to action by pupils at the very level of the content of their teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-178
Number of pages14
JournalÉducation et didactique
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2021


  • mental illness
  • young people
  • physical education
  • critical pedagogies
  • schools

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