No word on whether wrenches are also tools of oppression.
When the Canadian Society for the Study of Education meets in Vancouver at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, a trio of education theorists will argue that dodgeball is not only problematic, in the modern sense of displaying hierarchies of privilege based on athletic skill, but that it is outright “miseducative.”
Dodgeball is not just unhelpful to the development of kind and gentle children who will become decent citizens of a liberal democracy. It is actively harmful to this process, they say.
Dodgeball is a tool of “oppression.”
It is not saved because some kids like it, according to an abstract for the presentation, led by Joy Butler, professor of curriculum and pedagogy at the University of British Columbia.
“As we consider the potential of physical education to empower students by engaging them in critical and democratic practices, we conclude that the hidden curriculum offered by dodgeball is antithetical to this project, even when it reflects the choices of the strongest and most agile students,” it reads.
This “hidden curriculum” in dodgeball is far more nefarious than your average gym class runaround. Dodgeball is “miseducative” because it “reinforces the five faces of oppression,” as defined by the late Iris Marion Young, a social and political theorist at the University of Chicago.
As Butler’s abstract describes it, those “faces” are “marginalization, powerlessness, and helplessness of those perceived as weaker individuals through the exercise of violence and dominance by those who are considered more powerful.” Young’s list of these fundamental types of oppression also includes exploitation and cultural domination.