Organization of brazilian physical education and sport. Critical

considerations on Betti's ‘Physical education and society’


*Professor Adjunto na Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS)

Faculdade de Educação Física e Ciências do Desporto (FEFID)

Pesquisador Coordenador do Grupo de Pesquisa e Estudos Sociológicos

em Educação Física e Esporte (GPES), FEFID/PUCRS

Professor Adjunto na Instituição Educacional São Judas Tadeu, Curso de Educação Física

**Professora Adjunta na Universidade Federal de Pelotas (UFPel)

Escola Superior de Educação Física (ESEF);

Professora Pesquisadora no Grupo de Pesquisa e Estudos Sociológicos

em Educação Física e Esporte (GPES), FEFID/PUCRS

Prof. Dr. Marcelo Olivera Cavalli*

Profa. Dra. Adriana Schuler Cavalli**







          The paper has as objectives to present Betti's “Educação Física e Sociedade: a educação física na escola brasileira de 1º e 2º graus” (Physical education and society: physical education in Brazilian school) to foreign sociologists of Sport and Physical Education (PE); to establish a framework to critically analyze PE and Sport; and to detect dark areas that may be present in present-day PE. Betti's book was chosen because it analyzes Brazilian PE's historical background through a critical sociological perspective. Betti's main contribution is the proposal of two models: a) the sociological model: it explains past and present-day PE and defines four hierarchical levels; b) the subsystems model: it divides PE and Sport into four interconnected, independent subsystems. As for results, the influences suffered by PE and its ideological use by external factors are emphasized. Also, a new model, the sociological-educational model, is introduced to provoke external and internal sociological changes. The paper concludes citing the relevance of Betti's work in explaining the formation of present-day PE. Further research is suggested in order to establish other standpoints to analyze PE, Sport and society. The relationship between PE, Sport and society as well as why the incorporation of PE by Sport has been effective must be reevaluated and contested.

          Keywords: Brazil. Society. History. Critical Pedagogy. Physical Education. Sport.

http://www.efdeportes.com/ Revista Digital - Buenos Aires - Año 14 - Nº 131 - Abril de 2009

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I.     Introduction

    This paper presents and critically analyzes a Brazilian book written by Mauro Betti (1991) entitled “Educação física e sociedade: a educação física na escola brasileira de 1º e 2º graus” (Physical education and society: physical education in Brazilian school). There are six main objectives for choosing and introducing this book. They are as follows:

  1. To present Betti's book as one of the first books written in Brazil on Sociology of Sport and Physical Education (PE) that presents PE historical data analyzed through a critical sociological perspective.

  2. To contribute to Sociology of Sport and PE by presenting a research about the historical background of Brazilian PE, about the consequences of PE in contemporary society and about PE itself.

  3. To establish a framework to analyze Betti's book critically and to better understand the present situation of PE and Sport and their sociological repercussions.

  4. To establish the historical background of Brazilian PE and use it as a starting point, or as a parameter, to assume that most of the countries in the world have a similar background when considered at international level.

  5. To study facts occurred in the past and correlate them to the present situation of PE and Sport. The aim is to detect some dark areas existing in Brazilian PE and use them as a means to verify that every country or society probably has dark areas that need to be illuminated and highlighted.

  6. To use this historical research to detect the sociopolitical influences responsible for the formation of present-day PE and to verify the existence of sociopolitical/political interference and the performance of roles within society.

    The analysis of Betti's book is conducted from a sociopolitical standpoint. Therefore, emphasis is placed more on sociopolitical/political aspects than on any other aspects presented in the book.

    Before analyzing Betti's book, another definition of the Brazilian PE history must be considered. It was presented by Ghiraldelli in 1989 and it has probably influenced Betti when he established his own findings. The intention is to furnish more relevant data for a better understanding of the historical background of Brazilian PE and to make conceivable the establishment of possible connections and similarities of PE among other countries.

    As Ghiraldelli (1989) states, "it is necessary to make clear that this classifications are not arbitrary; they try to reveal what is essential within each one of the tendencies. It is also necessary to observe that the periodicity expressed must be understood with caution. That is because, in fact, tendencies that explicit themselves in a certain period is present in previous periods and, also, tendencies that apparently disappeared were, in reality, incorporated by others."

    Yet, concerning the five tendencies developed by Ghiraldelli (1989), the author states that "more complicated, though, is the relation of those conceptions and the daily practice of PE, especially of school PE. Not always, changes in the literature of PE correspond to an effective change at practical level. Many times, the practice only changes when the conception that guides it has already lost its hegemony". Ghirardelli’s (1989) five tendencies of Brazilian PE and the sociopolitical/political situation in Brazil are as follows:


Sociopolitical situation

Tendencies of PE in Brazil





. Political and social repercussions originated in Europe with the end of WWI

. The period between 1920-1964 was characterized by revolutions and armed movements that aimed to disrupt the old social oligarchy and to establish new sociopolitical orders


Emphasized individual health, social asepsis and the formation of healthy, strong, ready-for-action people. It was important to discipline people’s habits in a way to keep them away from things that were capable of causing health and moral damage, what would ‘jeopardize’ the life in the group





. Authoritarian government, Nazi and Fascist ideologies were present

. The political aim was to develop the country based on the nationalization of the economy

. The country changed from an agrarian-exporter to an urban-industrial economic model

. Authoritarian nationalism was emphasized, aiming to prevent liberalism and communism


It was responsible for the preparation of the young people, the ‘country’s servants and defenders’. They were taught bravery and courage and were capable of blind obedience and served as role models to others





. Re-democratization: this period is known as “populist” democracy and is characterized by various crises, presidential depositions and resignations, and the ‘Revolution of 1964’

. The economic model emphasized industrialization and internationalization of the economy

. The distance between the political model (based on mass politics) and the economic model (based on internationalization) generated a political crisis that culminated in the reorganization of the process which started during the revolution of 64


Presented a great distinction between instruction and education. PE started to be considered as an educational activity and became a common subject in school curriculum. The ‘education of the movement’ was considered as the only capable way to promote the so-called ‘integral education’








. Military dictatorship, as a consequence of the revolution (of 1964)

. Centralization and modernization of the public administration

. Increase of social and political control done by governmental institutions

. Prohibition of social demonstrations/protests

. Involvement in political movements could cause suspension or dismissal of public servants, teachers and students


Worked in favor of a social elitism and hierarchy. Its main objective was the characterization of competition and social ascension as fundamental and desired values to a modern society; a society that is characterized by worshipping athletes and ‘high level’ Sport





. Questioning of the situation that existed in the past

. Perception of a situation of crisis in various areas

. Re-democratization of the country

. End of the military dictatorship

. Election of a civil president (1986)


Above all else, it is amusement and cooperation. Sport, dance and gymnastics assume the function of promoting the organization and mobilization of workers. It serves the interests of what the workers have historically been calling as “working class solidarity”

II.     Outline of Betti’s book

1.     Objective

    The book has as a main objective to analyze PE as a curricular component of school instruction through a sociological perspective.

2.     Aims

    The aims of Betti's work are basically three. They are as follows:

  1. To establish the influence of the educational politics in PE's pedagogical propositions during the 1930-1986 period.

  2. To investigate the historical origin of those propositions.

  3. To elaborate a PE sociological model that is able to explain the pedagogical options taken in the instruction of PE during that period. The model will be drawn obtained from Sociology of Education and Sociology of Sport.

3.     Layout of the book

    In order to give a better idea of the organization of the book and of Betti's way of thinking, this segment is dedicated to explain how the book is presented. In the first chapter Betti approaches the theme of his research from three standpoints: (1) PE, physical activity, sport; (2) PE, Education and personality; and (3) PE and Sociology.

    In the second chapter he analyzes the historical background as well as the formation of PE and Sport. European gymnastic models and English sport movement are described as the pillars of modern PE and Sport. Sport as social phenomenon; Sport at school; Sport and PE; and the democratization of Sport are the other topics approached by Betti in this chapter.

    In the third chapter, Betti presents PE in Brazilian school. He gives some notions on the introduction of curricular propositions and examines PE in four distinct periods - 1930 to 1945; 1946 to 1968; 1969 to 1979; and 1980 to 1986.

    In the fourth chapter, he introduces his sociological model to explain the adaptive process of PE from 1930 to 1986.

    The last chapter is dedicated to Betti’s final remarks.

4.     Contents

1.     Introduction

    To develop his research, Betti had to delimit the period he studied. The reference for the initial historical research was the nineteenth century. This is when the gymnastics and Sport movements began in Europe. Betti considers this to be the bases for the systematization and institutionalization of contemporary PE. In Brazil, the period started in 1930. In 1930 a process of economic and political ruptures also began in Brazilian society. This greatly transformed the country including the area of education. It is also from this period that governmental initiatives concerning PE started to develop. The limit year for Betti's research is 1986.

2.     Physical Education and Sociology

    Yet the sociological referential was not used with consistency to study the theme. In Brazil, Marinho (Betti, 1991) was the first one to approach PE in a sociological dimension, using Durkheim's positivist theory. The research conducted concerning the social aspects of PE in Brazil has analyzed the "social functions" of PE in a generic way. It has drawn from references of philosophy of education and has focused on ideological tendencies. According to Betti, the tendency in PE coincides with and is derived from present Brazilian pedagogy. It approaches the ideological aspects of education by asking the following questions:

  1. Whose needs is education attending?

  2. Should we educate to transform or reproduce?

    The research became too schematic and ignored the specificity of the phenomena. Ideologies were mechanically and directly infused into the PE practice. Neither mediation elements nor distinctions between ideology and science were considered.

    The study of what ideas and values are present in PE educational proposal is done extensively, but the philosophic-ideological approach doesn't analyze the practice itself.

    Betti states that to understand PE as a means of education, a study of its social dimension is necessary. So his study aims to help to elaborate a sociological theory applied to PE. His theory has two main streams: Sociology of Education and Sociology of Sport.

3.     The historical heritage

    The methods responsible for the systematization and institutionalization of PE were developed in Europe. On the continent, the gymnastics systems prevailed; and in England, the Sport movement originated.

    The European Gymnastics systems of the nineteenth century are considered to be the institutional basis of the modern PE in the Western world. They were developed based on two influences that are in a certain way contradictory. They are as follows:

  1. The pedagogic thinking of naturalist and philanthropic scholars and teachers who valued individualism respected human nature and emphasized the holistic development of human personality.

  2. Political nationalism emphasized mass patriotism, education under a national ideal, the individual in service of the nation and militarism. It was interested in physically training people to fight in wars.

    According to Moolenijzer (Betti, 1991), the gymnastics systems created by Jahn, Nachtegall and Ling spread to the rest of the world. The gymnastics systems dominated PE, not only in Germany, but, virtually, in all countries of the world.

    The English Sport Movement of the nineteenth century is the other pillar of the systematization of modern PE. It paralleled sociopolitical-economic transformations that were caused by the Industrial Revolution in England in the 1760s (Eyler, 1969; McIntosh, 1975; Rouyer, 1977 cited in Betti, 1991). Sport developed in a speed never seen in any other social movement. Nowadays, it is a complex problem, multifaceted and an integral element of economic, sociopolitical-political and cultural change in the modern world (Krawczyk et al., 1979 cited in Betti, 1991). The social critique of Sport started in the 1960s. It is concerned with political interests, economic alienation, how the masses are manipulated through the illusion of Sport success, and coercion in high performance sport. Sport presents the characteristics of a society as a whole and reflects the industrial capitalist system. Here Betti establishes connections between Sport and work in a capitalist society, Sport gesture and automated work. Brohm (Betti, 1991) and Laguillaumie (Betti, 1991), co-authored the famous edition of the magazine "Partisans", published in France during the 1960s. It was the initial mark of the social critique of Sport in the world, and contended that the activity of athletes and worker's became completely abstract in four levels:

  1. Activity. The activity of Sport is nothing more than gestures of repetition. Natural and pleasurable activities became mechanized in situations that were artificially created and where overcoming time became the central issue.

  2. Body. The body is considered as nothing but a means to high performance and exists independently from the totality of man.

  3. Time. Time becomes an abstraction because of the integration of the stopwatch into the domain of Sport. The watch gives exact time and determines records.

  4. Space. Space has no direct relation to nature. The track substitutes for fields and forests and the swimming pool substitutes for a river. Nature is considered in terms of the profitability of the sport event; it is been considered only as "a thing".

    In his book “O Desporto na Escola” (Sport in School), Belbenoit (Betti, 1991) states that the terms 'Sport' and 'PE' are used indifferently, and even a little superficially, since the purpose of Sport is not to educate. But undoubtedly, Sport is an intense and ruled physical activity, and has a 'hygienic function' that brings Sport near to PE. Although Belbenoit states that Sport education supplanted PE -- with the support of political authorities and specialized teachers -- he asks if it is due to a fashion influenced by interests or if it is due to the result of a reflection that leads to coherence between politics and pedagogy.

    Betti emphasizes that there are different approaches to Sport. The relations between these approaches and between them and PE are analyzed through the following two conceptions: the pyramidal model and the subsystems model. The pyramidal model is the most traditional and diffused conception in Brazil. It conceives PE and Sport from a hierarchical model that is characterized by the dependence of the higher levels in relation to the lower ones.

Figure 1. Pyramidal Model

    This model is also characterized by an elitist vision since it defines High Performance Sport as the top of the pyramid. At the top only a few individuals who are endowed with exceptional psychomotor qualities will be able to participate. School PE and Leisure Physical Activities are subordinated to the objectives of High Performance Sport. This makes it difficult for them to be acknowledged as autonomous areas, with own objectives. The model also maintains the idea that elite sportsmen come from the masses, while at the same time, it stimulates Sport practices.

III.     Betti's main findings

1.     The Subsystems Model

    The subsystems model was elaborated based on the sportive model of Krawczyk et al. (Betti, 1991) and on the cultural interpretation of sport developed by Krawczyk (Betti, 1991). According to Krawczyk, the relations between Sport and culture can be analyzed on two levels.

  1. Sport and physical culture are part of a totality of the human culture. Sport is defined by the culture and, at the same time, it is a component that defines culture. The relationship is dialectic.

  2. Sport is considered as a segment defined in the cultural reality, that is, in the domain of values and models of physical culture.

    Krawczyk et al. (Betti, 1991) and Krawczyk (Betti, 1991) highlight the need to take into account the internal differentiation of Sport, through presenting the following four areas:

  1. Educational sport

  2. Recreational sport

  3. Corrective sport

  4. Business-achievement sport

    These four areas have different contents, objectives and social functions; they are institutionalized in diverse ways; and they reach different social segments. The acknowledgment and the acceptance of these differences make possible the development of a Sport model of which the components are mutually supported and depending upon each other (Krawczyk et al., 1979 cited in Betti, 1991).

    The subsystems model conceives PE and Sport from a system composed of four interconnected subsystems. Though independent, each one has its own characteristics. The proposed model aims to give a vision of totality to PE within the so called 'culture of the physical activities'. The model makes it possible to conceive PE as a global socio-cultural phenomenon and to overcome conceptual divergence. It eliminates the PE/Sport dichotomy as well as the primacy of high performance Sport over other areas.

Figure 2. Subsystems Model

2.     Physical Education in Brazilian School

    The following table synthesizes information from the four historical periods through which PE is analyzed (Betti, 1991).


State initiative in PE

Administration of PE

Educational politics

Pedagogic discourse of PE

Educational objectives of PE

Teaching method














. Emphasis placed on the development of human resources; many new institutions and courses were created

. Inclusion of compulsory PE classes in the Constitution of 1937

. PE compulsory classes to elementary, middle, high and professional schools defined by law

. Creation of the division of PE (DPE) in the Ministry of Education and Health

. Centralized

. Emphasis placed on school PE

. PE is considered at educational politics level

. Perseverance to develop political elite and medium level human resources for industry and commerce

. Emphasis placed on high school instruction

. Dualism of instructional systems between professional and high schools

.emphasis placed on nationalistic values

. Biologic (anatomo-physiologic)

. Emphasis placed on hygiene, health and eugenics

.Improvement of organic functions

. French Method










. Consolidation of compulsory PE classes at elementary and middle instruction defined by LDB - Law of Directives and Bases

. Weakening of the centralized administration

. Liberal-democratic character

. Decentralized

. Establishment of basic directives for national education - LDB

. Increase in the number of public schools

. Relative suppression of the dualism of instructional systems

. Bio-psycho-social

. Emphasis placed on the educational value of play

.Improvement of physiological, psychic, social and moral aspects

. Generalized Sport Method












. Creation of the PE and Sports Department

. Regulation of PE at elementary, middle and high schools

. Inclusion of compulsory PE classes at university level

. Establishment of national politics for PE and Sport

. Establishment of the First National Plan for PE and Sports

. Centralized

. Emphasis placed on high performance Sport

. Partial disconnection between PE and educational politics at elementary, middle and high schools

. Planning and application of PE and Sport

. Adoption of the Pyramidal Model

. Restructured by the economic model

. Education as a national security factor

. Renewal of university instruction

. Renewal of elementary, middle and high schools: establishment of one-system schools, extension of compulsory and gratuitous instruction

. Increase on the demand for elementary, middle and high schools

. Increase of private university institutions

.Educational value of Sport

. Physical fitness

. Sport initiation

. Sport Method










. Reorientation aiming for the development of human resources

. Creation of the PE and Sports Secretariat

. Support of scientific research in PE

. Disconnection between PE and educational politics at elementary, middle and high schools

. Physical activities seen as means of Leisure/Education/ Sport spectacle

. Adoption of the Subsystems Model

. Emphasis placed on PE at the first four school levels

. Questioning of the educational situation that was established in the nation/Crisis

.proposals of decentralization and participation as a solution to educational crisis

. Valorization of the social role of school

. Social transformation

. Critical thinking

. Creativity

.Consciousness raising


3.     The Sociological Model

    The socio-cultural system is a complex adaptive system and is characterized by its capacity to persist, to develop and to modify its own structure. According to Buckeye (Betti, 1991), this adaptive process has five basic components:

  1. It is a source for continuous introduction of 'variety' into the system.

  2. It maintains an optimum level of tension in the system, but it also has a relatively high level of satisfaction for the needs of its members.

  3. It establishes a communication network that spreads out in both directions over all parts of the system.

  4. It creates a decision-making system that is sensible to changes of both internal and external environments.

  5. It is an efficient mechanism to preserve and propagate the means, systems of symbols and groups of information that constitute "the basis of the socio-cultural frame, within which occurs the next sequence of the adaptive process."

    Thus, PE is a complex adaptive, hierarchic and open system. The proposed systemic model consists of four hierarchical levels. They are as follows:

  1. Educational politics is the mechanism of transportation of social values and priorities to the educational and school systems.

  2. Objectives of the school system is the instrument of operationalization of the educational politics. It also defines the profile of the system's members.

  3. Educational objectives of PE transfer educational politics, the objectives of the school system and the interests of other social systems into PE practices.

  4. Teaching-learning process is the relationship among the teacher-student-instructional subject trinomial.

Figure 3. The Sociological Model

    Betti's objective to conceive the sociological model was to make clear the dynamic and determinant factors of PE's adaptive process during the 1930-1986 period, as well as the dynamics of the process that allows for changes in the teacher-student-instructional subject trinomial level. It could also adapt itself to the educational objectives and to the pedagogical options assumed by PE. Betti emphasizes that the model isn't reality itself, but it is a way of explaining reality.

4.     Analysis of Teaching-Learning Processes

a.     The Model of Polarities

    The model of polarities is composed by pedagogic-didactic variables – content and teaching styles – that are related to a pedagogical model of PE established by Mosston (Betti, 1991). Also, the model is composed of socio-psychological variables such as purpose, social interaction, resolution of conflicts, rules, and professionalization of attitudes. These variables originated within Sociology of Sport, according to Huizinga's (Betti, 1991) 'Theory of Play', Elias and Dunning's (Betti, 1991) 'Theory of Polarities', and Webb's (Betti, 1991) 'Model of Professionalization of Attitudes'.

Figure 4. Position of the French Method (FM), Generalized Sport Method (GSM) and Sport Method (SM) in the Model of Polarities

    The option for one of the polarities in any variable affects the balance of one or more of the others. An activity of formal content, presumably, will be associated to work, rigid rules, external control and teaching by command. When the content is formal Sport, emphasis will also be placed on victory and competition. The option for rigid rules takes to external control; and internal control would lead to the adoption of flexible rules. This phenomenon is coherent to the theory of systems in which each component has its own function and also exerts influence over the other components (Singer & Dick, 1980 cited in Betti, 1991).

b.     Teaching-Learning Processes and Main Teaching Methods

b.1.     The French Method

    The French Method (FM) made a clear option for command and formal contents; problem solution was radically kept apart. Although some adaptation factors, such as age, physiological condition and fitness, atmospheric conditions, terrain and available materials were considered by the FM, the content was pre-established and delimited. The socio-psychological variables of the FM were kept near to work, external control and rigid rules.

b.2.     The Generalized Sport Method

    The Generalized Sport Method (GSM) option for play ('ludus') conditioned and was conditioned to opt in other variables. Its educational objectives emphasized 'play', because 'play' collaborates to social interaction (both competition and cooperation) and the emergence of conflicts. These characteristics were explored by the GSM. However, the resolution of conflicts was strictly connected to external control.

    The conception of Sport technique is less rigid compared to the FM, and it takes into consideration the possibilities of the students. It is based on general and essential principles such as rhythm and breathing education. The chosen strategy is the 'ways of playing' where spontaneous reactions appear and, through them, it is possible to discover certain aspects of behavior, giving emphasis to the development of the personality, the decision, the spirit of cooperation and intelligence of the players. (Brasil, MEC, DEF, 1966 cited in Betti, 1991)

    These aspects took the GSM to base its teaching style on problem solution, without disregarding the traditional command style. The 'ways of playing' also made easier the adoption of non formal contents. However formal aspects and rigid rules of Sport limited flexibility and informality.

b.3.     The Sport Method

    With the SM, the formal model of high performance Sport took over, without distinction. It was adopted as a synonym of PE, without any deeper pedagogical reflection. The SM could have valued 'ludus', but it opted for high performance Sport. Thus, formalization, technique and search for efficiency limited the SM, and placed it near to the 'work' variable. The conceptual reform that took place in 1986 tried to revert back this situation, but the proposed sport-education concept was excessively idealist. It didn't propose a concrete practice. That didn't happen to Sport-performance and sport-participation. Is sport-education sport-performance or participation? That is a question that the State didn't have the courage or intelligence to clearly answer. On the contrary, it confounded sport-education with PE. What could PE do in such situation except work with sport-education?

IV.     Results

1.     A Critique to Betti

    As mentioned earlier, Betti's dialogue is the first complete book written in Brazil that historically analyzes PE and its sociological role through a sociological approach. The book is interesting and extremely complex. It presents and explains past and present connections and influences suffered by PE, and it explains exactly the course through which PE was submitted as well as why PE is what it is. However, there still are points of criticism that need to be mentioned. They are as follows:

  1. Betti was able to analyze and perceive many different aspects and factors of PE as well as PE's connections to other structures of society. However, he does not present answers and possible solutions for the improvement of the present and future PE.

  2. The title of the book is Educação Física e Sociedade: A Educação Física na Escola Brasileira de 1º e 2º Graus (Physical Education and Society: Physical Education in Brazilian School). However, it shows, indirectly, a certain amount of discrimination or inconsideration to part of Brazilian society since the illiteracy rate drops below 20 percent. That means thirty million people cannot read and write. If early dropouts were included the figure would rise to more than 20 percent. If the term 'Society' is used, it is then difficult to understand how this 20 percent can be part of the society if they do not have the opportunity to attend school. At school patterns and values are strongly established and it is there where students become socialized. Although 80 percent is quite a significant figure, however, that is exactly what PE, conservatively, has done so far. So the questions are: 'What can PE do to make every person a participant?' And 'How can PE contribute to this social transformation?’.

  3. When talking about PE's self-affirmative tendency, past and present self-affirmative discourses have not worked to affirm PE, but only as a means to maintain and to reinforce political and ideological structures. In short, PE is working politically and ideologically in favor of those structures instead of affirming itself.

  4. It is not sufficient to think only about the four hierarchic levels that determined the adaptive process of PE during the 1930-1986 period. Betti should have gone farther, that is, by establishing a sociological model that would cause or stimulate future changes in PE. The establishment of stronger relations between educational politics, PE objectives, and the society is an example because schools have no social value and meaning without society's participation, cooperation and approval.

2.     A Model for Social Changes

    Betti's main aim in establishing the sociological model was to conceive and to explain the pedagogical options taken in the instruction of PE. As he said, the model isn't reality itself, but a means to explain reality. Through the analysis of the sociological model, it is possible to verify strict hierarchical connections between different levels. Since there is a hierarchy involved, it is probable that difficulties are faced in regard to feedback on proposals by the superior levels. However, it would also be possible for social changes to occur at the lowest hierarchical level. Here teachers and students would create different social discourses that would change society and educational politics. This process can be understood as 'changes from outside of the school environment'.

Figure 5. The Sociological Model

    Considering the similarities between society and educational politics – and that both are controlled/manipulated by external political powers – the changes described above are possible although not very effectively. If trying to contribute to the formation of a new social order, then the sociological-educational model is an interesting model to consider. This model should also be considered as a means of expressing various ideas and intentions.

    Through its analysis, we can critique the political role played or not played by PE and Sport, and see the imposition of social ideology and values into the discourses of PE and Sport.

    According to the sociological-educational model, influences such as manipulation, imposition and ideological use inflicted by political powers over society, should be emphasized. The model would also follow the same direction designated by Betti's model. However, it would not only break hierarchical differences, but also activate changes that originated 'inside of the school environment'. Such changes derived from the lower hierarchical levels of Betti's model, that is, the teacher-student-subject trinomial and the educational objectives of PE. It would follow not only a single hierarchical direction, but would flow in both directions, by including the anti-hierarchical as well. The anti-hierarchical direction is not stressed in Betti's model although it plays effective and discriminative conservative roles. So the main difference between the two models is that the anti-hierarchical direction should be one of the main sources for sociopolitical-political transformation. It could be done by setting new definitions for PE to affirm itself, which means to create conditions to a sociological-philosophical debate, in which the central theme would be the objectives and values of PE.

V.     Concluding remarks

    As previously mentioned, this analysis of Betti's work focused more attention on sociopolitical-political data and aspects related to the formation of present-day Brazilian PE and Sport. Through the analysis of the sociopolitical-political formation of PE in Brazil, it was possible to make evident the course through which Brazilian PE developed itself and how linkages between other social spheres were established. This analysis also made possible for foreign scholars to have access to information on sociological and educational-political data about Brazilian PE and society.

    Due to interests external to PE, PE has lost its self-affirmative tendency and has been incorporated by Sport practices, values and ideology. The practice of PE can be said of being merely the reproduction, maintenance and reinforcement of Sport values and of all sociopolitical-political variables derived from modern Sport practices. Sport has been incorporated by economic, political and governmental interests. The relationship between PE, Sport and society as well as why the incorporation of PE by Sport has been effective must be reevaluated and contested.

    When PE and Sport are analyzed from a more internationalized point of view – that is, how PE and Sport developed themselves in many different countries; how PE and Sport practices are effectively been carried out; and how the Olympic Games and high performance Sport affect each countries culture, society, ..., economy and politics – similarities between a wide number of nations are evident. Cross-cultural studies are of extreme importance.

    As Betti's book is one of the first books to analyze Brazilian PE historical data through a critical sociological perspective, further research is suggested in order to establish other possible standpoints for analysis and to provide ways to develop research on the current social order or on how to form a new social order.


  • BETTI, M. 1991. Educação Física e Sociedade: A Educação Física na Escola Brasileira de 1º e 2º Graus. São Paulo, Brasil: Movimento.

  • CAVALLI, M. O. 1994. Critical Considerations on Contemporary PE and Sport: Research of Sociopolitical-Political Roles. In: Master's thesis. Physical Education Sciences Dept., Aichi University of Education, Japan.

  • GHIRALDELLI Jr., P. 1989. Educação Física Progressista: A Pedagogia Crítico-Social dos Conteúdos e a Educação Física Brasileira. Brasil: Loyola.

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