(No) Touching Discourse in Indian PE : A study on the physical interactions between PE teachers and their students in the Indian state of Kerala

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för idrottsvetenskap (ID)

Abstract: This study was conducted in the Indian state Kerala, among 15 physical education (PE) teachers. The aim of this study was to investigate intergenerational touch in the daily work of Indian PE teachers, and more precisely whether or not the teachers thought intergenerational touch was an issue and what their views on this subject were. The data was generated through semi-structured interviews with teachers from Keralan primary, secondary and upper-secondary schools. Collected data was analysed by using Michel Foucault’s theoretical concepts of discourse, power/knowledge, bio-power, governmentality, normalisation and panopticism. The study identifies a number of different discourses, in which physical interaction emerged as a dilemma for Indian PE teachers. Two of the most distinct ones were, what we refer to as, the “no touch”- and “risk”-discourses. Based on the findings of this study we conclude that the gender of the PE teacher plays a crucial role in whether a teacher choose to physically interact with their students or not. Societal norms have a great influence on PE teachers’ actions concerning intergenerational touch, which in this context cohere around no touch.

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