populism paper.pdf (340.08 kB)
Download file

In pursuit of equity and inclusion: Populism, politics and the future of educational research in physical education, health and sport

Download (340.08 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 07.04.2017, 09:09 by John Evans, Brian Davies
Globalization and its ideological bedfellow neoliberalism have demonstrably failed to deliver on many of their promises; not least of providing greater social mobility and more educational and economic opportunities, especially to the most ‘disadvantaged’. The rise of new Right, populist politics across the globe is one expression of this failure. The extent to which education policy and associated research in education, physical education (PE), health, and sport share in failure to address the interests of those disillusioned with mainstream Governments and politicians is moot, and yet to be adequately explored. As means of promoting some further reflection on this matter this paper argues that although the achievements of Physical Education, health and sport (PEHS) research communities in addressing equality and inclusion issues are many, varied, and to be applauded, they are incomplete and have come at a cost. The reasons for this lie both outwith and inside our professional practices: They refer to disturbing systemic pressures, born of neo liberalism and its manufactured austerities, threatening the wellbeing of those very disciplines and research communities that are likely to be asking searching, sometimes difficult, questions of extant social hierarchies, and to limitations within the theoretical leanings of PEHS research communities respectively. Our analyses suggest that if research is to be seen as credible means of addressing current socio-economic change including the worst excesses of new Right populism and its effects on equity and inclusion in Physical Education, health and sport in schools and society, then it will be because its practices are grounded in research expertise and theoretical bodies of knowledge that are finely attuned both to structural inequalities and the cultural interests of its target communities.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Sport, Education and Society


EVANS, J. and Davies, B., 2017. In pursuit of equity and inclusion: Populism, politics and the future of educational research in physical education, health and sport. Sport, Education and Society, 22(5), pp.684-694.


© Taylor & Francis


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date


Publication date



This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Sport, Education and Society on 27 March 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13573322.2017.1307176.