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PHSE523 Sport, Leisure and Social Theory

Critical examination of the utility of selected social and cultural theories and theorists for explaining sporting and leisure life.

PHSE 523 is a graduate-year paper focusing on social and cultural theory with a view to understanding the relevance and usefulness of such theory as a means of explaining sporting and leisure life. The overall aim of the paper is not only to develop students' understanding of social and cultural theory, but also to promote reflection upon the intellectual value of theory and the ways in which theory can be used to inform academic research within sport and leisure studies (i.e. theory should be seen to have practical applications and consequences).

Paper title Sport, Leisure and Social Theory
Paper code PHSE523
Subject Physical Education
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,590.98
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,357.07

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PHSE 204 and PHSE 206
PHSE 423
Limited to
BPhEd(Hons), PGDipOE, PGDipPE, MDanceSt, MPhEd
Approval from the Dean of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences is required for non-BPhEd students.
Students require a background in introductory- and upper-level sociology of sport. Further background in sociology is a benefit.
Teaching staff
Course Co-ordinator and Lecturer: Dr Mark Falcous
Paper Structure
Topics include:
  • Functionalism
  • Symbolic interactionism
  • Marxism
  • Feminism(s)
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • Cultural studies
  • Critical race theory
  • Postcolonialism
  • Postmodernism
  • Michel Foucault
There is no compulsory text book. A reading list will be provided, which details the book chapter or research articles that complement each lecture. These readings will be available online and through course reserve in the library.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
The main objectives of this paper are to:
  • Understand the background to the development of the key theoretical approaches and identify the principal writers associated with them
  • Know and understand the assumptions of each approach
  • Know and understand the ways in which the approaches have been used to study sport and the conclusions that have been drawn
  • Develop students' ability to critically engage with social theory - in relation to sport and leisure - in writing
  • Develop students' ability to critically engage with social theory - in relation to sport and leisure - in class discussion
  • Allow students to develop the skills to critically discuss, evaluate and compare the approaches and their contribution to the study of sport

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 9-13, 15-22