On the Boundaries of Shame. A Qualitative Study of Situations of Overstepping Boundaries (of Shame) in Physical Education as Seen from the Students' Perspective


  • Ina Hunger Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
  • Nicola Böhlke Georg-August-Universität Göttingen




school-class research, physical education, school sports, students' perspective, overstepping boundaries, shame, shame boundary, infringements, experiences in school sports, short written narrations, methods of sequential analysis


More than any other subject, teaching physical education focuses all the participants' attention on physicality: the students' bodies are at the center of instructional activities and the reference point of evaluations; the body is touched, observed, and enacted; students compare each other's juvenile bodies along normative criteria such as weight, proportionality, and fitness. Against this backdrop, physical education also seems to carry a neuralgic potential for experiencing situations that involve an overstepping of boundaries of shame. This article focuses on a study of physical education in school that retrospectively inquired into situations in physical education that students perceived as overstepping their boundaries of shame or intimacy. The data was collected by means of short written narrations and analyzed using methods of sequential analysis. The findings show that, from the students' point of view, boundaries of shame are transgressed in various ways within the context of physical education: by exposing the body in swimming lessons, the regular touching of the body by the teacher, and so forth. The students are aware that the situations that they perceived as overstepping their boundaries can in principle be explained on didactic grounds or be characterized as "normal" by reference to common practice in sports.


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Author Biographies

Ina Hunger, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Prof. Dr. Ina HUNGER (geb. 1965) ist seit 2008 Leiterin des Arbeitsbereiches Sportpädagogik und -didaktik am Institut für Sportwissenschaften der Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Ihre aktuellen Forschungsschwerpunkte betreffen das Thema "(Früh)Kindliche Bildung und Bewegung" und "Bewegungssozialisation im Kindesalter" (unter den Forschungsaspekten Geschlecht, soziale Benachteiligung, sozial-kulturelle Herkunft, Entwicklungsauffälligkeiten/Behinderung) sowie das Handlungsfeld "Schulsport " (Forschungsthemen sind hier u.a. Handlungsorientierungen von Lehrkräften, Schulsporterlebnisse, Schüler/innenperspektiven und Inklusion).

Nicola Böhlke, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Nicola BÖHLKE (geb. 1982) ist seit 2011 wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Institut für Sportwissenschaften (Arbeitsbereich Sportpädagogik und -didaktik) der Georg-August-Universität-Göttingen. Sie promoviert zum Thema "Zum Erleben von Sport und Bewegung aus der Perspektive psychisch erkrankter Jugendlicher" und forscht ferner zum Thema "Schulsporterlebnisse".



How to Cite

Hunger, I., & Böhlke, N. (2017). On the Boundaries of Shame. A Qualitative Study of Situations of Overstepping Boundaries (of Shame) in Physical Education as Seen from the Students’ Perspective. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-18.2.2623



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