Key actors in PE and their conception of the discipline: A dialectical force

Research papers
By Jean-Nicolas Renaud, Doriane Gomet

The historiography of physical education (PE) has been unfolding for almost four decades. From teaching methods to the impact that PE has on education as a whole, this history of the discipline has always brought the work of its actors into play. As such, the place of those who have had an impact on the trajectory of the discipline is growing, and the effects of the recruitment contest have only increased the attention paid to these characters within a global dynamic. A biography becomes heuristic when it comes to the evolution of the impact that the individual in question’s contributions have had on the discipline. But the individual’s own history is affected by how the discipline receives his or her ideas. In the end, this double game enables a character to become a personality. This preamble therefore seeks to situate Christian Vivier’s work as a framework of interpretation for understanding all the articles that follow in the two special issues of the journal STAPS. Following on from this, this first special issue presents the study by Pierre-Alban Lebecq, Yves Morales, Jean Saint-Martin, and Natalia Bazoge on Pierre Seurin. Next, Sébastien Laffage-Cosnier’s article on Dr. Max Fourestier looks at the end of the medical model in French PE. The issue finishes with two articles on the De Rette couple: Cyril Polycarpe and Jean-Jacques Dupaux’s article on Jacques de Rette, father of the “Republic of Sport,” shows his confrontation with the inertia of his time. His wife Yvonne, analyzed by Loïc Szerdahelyi, paradoxically wore the clothes of this inertia. A complex history of PE is thus captured in five articles and four key actors

  • biographical approach
  • historiography
  • physical education
  • conceptions
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