Canadian researchers made a presentation at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Vancouver earlier this month after interviewing middle school age students about physical education courses in general.
The three professors said many of the students had complained about dodgeball in particular, so they began to research the sport more extensively.
In 1990, Iris Marion Young, a political theorist, wrote an article entitled “Five Faces of Oppression,” in which she argues that there are five “faces” or types of oppression: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism and violence, when “members of a group of lower standing know they have been subject to random, unprovoked attacks.”
All five traits matched up with the answers given by students, according to Joy Butler, a professor who studies pedagogy and curriculum development at the University of British Columbia.
“The message is that it’s okay to hurt or dehumanize the ‘other,'” Butler said in an interview with The Washington Post. “The competition is about annihilating one’s opponent, and the true definition of competition is between two evenly matched teams. Well, kids stack their teams, and they really enjoy beating the other team. What’s the enjoyment of that?”
The studies will be published in an upcoming edition of the European Physical Education Review.