The Influence of Gender Identities and Development on Sports and Physical Education in China

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Chinese society was constituted through a value system steeped in masculine and feminine distinctions over thousands of years. Historically, men and masculinity formed an authoritative and rigid social hierarchy based on Wu Lun, or ‘five relations’: these were composed of relationships amongst ruler-ruled, father-son, elder-younger brother, husband-wife, and male friend-male friend. A broader understanding of gender identities and dynamics emerged concomitantly with Deng Xiaoping’s vision of a China that would ‘March out of Asia and into the world’. This chapter explores recent developments of gender roles and identities and will highlight reforms related to physicality, sport, and physical education (PE) in contemporary China. Sports, physical activity, and PE are integral for stimulating national enthusiasm in elite, mass, and commercial practices within a modern China. The gender dynamics of sports and PE has been widely researched in Westernised countries including the United Kingdom and Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Sport in China
EditorsFan Hong, Liu Li
Place of PublicationLondon, U. K.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781000900811
ISBN (Print)9781032068206
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023


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