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Everything is at stake; yet nothing is at stake : exploring meaning-making in game-centred approaches

Jones, Ruan and Harvey, Stephen and Kirk, David (2014) Everything is at stake; yet nothing is at stake : exploring meaning-making in game-centred approaches. Sport, Education and Society, 21 (6). pp. 888-906. ISSN 1357-3322

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While not wishing to cover old ground in articulating the promise or continued promise of phenomenology within the physical education and sports domains, this paper aims to explore the ‘human’ nature of the game-centred approach (GCA) from an existential-phenomenological perspective. In a recent review of literature on the current state of research on GCAs, Harvey and Jarrett made the call for phenomenological-oriented empirical studies. Urging the academic fraternity to embrace such ‘participatory epistemologies’ is an extremely positive and important step by the authors. This is because, although they do not explicitly make the point, to call for the embrace of phenomenological-oriented research into GCAs, the authors are accepting the fundamental importance of individual experience and meaning in games teaching. If we focus on the individual it then becomes a distinct possibility of structuring increasingly meaningful game-centred practice. In this respect we analyze Martin Heidegger's notion of ‘being-in-the-world’ and illustrate how Arnold's three categories of meaningful movement—primordial, contextual and existential—can help facilitate ideas for pedagogical practice and provide an appropriate interpretive lens for future research into GCAs.