The emergence of a critical approach to sports and the body. The role of Michel Bernard (1927–2015) in physical education’s “’68 moment”

By Sylvain Ferez, Yves Morales, Carine Érard

This article aims to identify Michel Bernard’s role in physical education’s “’68 moment,” as it developed in the early 1960s at the ENSEP jeunes gens and as it continued up until the mid-1970s. By retracing the uniqueness of his intellectual journey, at the intersection of readings, encounters, and conditions for the teaching of philosophy, the hermeneutic biography offered here aims to shed light on the collective transformations that took place around the representations of the body and the emancipation projects that characterized this particular “moment” (Dosse 2005). Based on a series of accounts collected from Bernard himself and from some of his ENSEP students, Bernard appears to be a decisive initiator-intermediary for the “’68 generation” of physical education. His final involvement in this world, which led to the publication in 1978 of a collective work entitled Quelles pratiques corporelles maintenant?, probably constitutes the end of the “’68 moment” for the academic discipline of physical education.

  • Michel Bernard
  • critical approach
  • body
  • physical education
  • May ’68
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