Theory of physical culture: scientific myth or reality?

Фотографии: 

V.A. Sutula, associate professor, Dr.Hab. Kharkov state academy of physical culture, Kharkov, Ukraine. G.V. Vlasov, Ph.D. Donetsk national medical university, Donetsk, Ukraine
 
Key words: physical culture, theory, activity, needs, social functions, recreational and educational function, directions of development, system, social mechanism of self-development.
 

The crisis in science - a natural phenomenon, but it is not a crisis of science itself, and the theories and concepts of its parts"
(G. Natalov)

Introduction. In the recent years, the problems of development of the theory of physical culture have been widely [1, 2, 11, 19, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28-33, 39, and others] and sometimes quite emotionally [5, 16, 39, 42] discussed on the pages of "Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury". The wound up debate on the crisis indicates the crisis in the existing ideas of physical culture as a specific socio-cultural phenomenon, the interest of a wide range of professionals in its settlement, the need to improve the theory, which should be an integral system of knowledge about the sphere of human activity. Such a question statement is natural and timely, because the theory of physical culture, reflected in the fundamental works [12, 15, 17, 23 etc.], lacks a single general theoretical framework [4, 31, 34]. But the theory itself is a specific, according to Yu.M. Nikolaev [33], "mechanistic" association of foundations of physical education, as well as theories and concepts, that describe other forms of social manifestations of physical culture.

The need to develop integrated approaches to the analysis of the system of knowledge on physical culture is clearly evident in the works of many scientists. For example, N.I. Ponomarev [37, 38], when analyzing this problem, focused on the importance and necessity of understanding the integrative nature of the theory of physical culture. G.G. Natalov [26, 27], considering different approaches to the construction of the theory, noted that the theory of formation of the culture of motor activity will become the generalized science. In the works of V.M. Vydrin [7, 8, 9, 10] he stresses that the recent advances in the formation of the holistic view of the system of physical culture are based on the culturological approach to the study of the problems of development, on the use of the theory of activity and the theory of needs to understand integration processes, which have been intensified in the social system of physical culture. Investigating such trends in the current "physical culture science" L.P. Matveev [22] states that in understanding of the essence of this problem, one is to focus mainly on the relationships that define the unity of various forms of physical culture. In one of the recent papers he noted that now the prerequisites for the formation of the holistic view of physical culture have arisen, which create the basis for designing the generalized theory [24]. The problems associated with the comprehension of the essence of the theory of integration of physical culture are consistently highlit by Yu.M. Nikolayev [28-33]. He focuses on the fact that the updated theory of physical education should be based on a new conceptual framework, which should present a coherent, independent theory of activity in physical education, the foundation of which is to be radically new paradigm of theoretical knowledge of its nature, which should reflect the formation the whole man in the unity of his somatic mental and sociocultural components [30, 32].

The stipulated above ideas indicate that the current approaches to the study of physical culture should describe it as a holistic phenomenon that objectively exists in society, and be based on the reinterpretation of the integration processes unfolding in the public sphere. Herewith, it is advisable to use the socioculturological approach as well as the law of the relationship of needs and activity. Proceeding from the above works of leading scientists, the above stated conceptual positions still have not yet found practical implementation in the development of the theory of physical culture. However, they serve the methodological basis for the allocation of the objective laws of the development of physical culture, the definition of its role and place in the system of social relations and their impact on the formation of human physical and spiritual nature, that is the basis for the development of the science of physical culture as such.

The purpose of the study was to allocate integral functions of the modern physical culture, the social mechanism of its self-development, the key directions of its historic evolution and establish the ratio between the theory of physical culture and theories and concepts describing modern forms of its public manifestation.

The methods of research of this problem are based on the analysis of specialized literature, in which the theoretical and practical aspects of organization of the theory of physical culture are being developed.

Results and discussion. Development of integration trends in the modern theory of physical culture is essential, because this theory has a right to exist only when it is justified and adequately discloses the essence of the unity of different types of physical culture. This approach involves an analysis of modern physical culture through the prism of the integrated system that includes physical education, sport and physical recreation, physical rehabilitation and adaptive physical culture [45]. It should be noted that not every (voluntary) association of structural elements can act as a system. System is only a set of elements that have some features in common. These properties are determined by its system formating (integral) function. This means that selection and analysis of such a fucntion of modern physical culture is a priority and a key component in the development of its theory.

Integral function of physical culture. In the study of this problem one is to recognize that different types of physical culture have emerged and are being developing in the social environment as a result of specialized human activity on the use of a variety of exercises. Consequently, physical exercises are precisely that fundamental "building block", which is the basis of their unity [37]. Attention should be paid to some seemingly quite obvious features of their application. On the one hand, the systematic use of such exercises by a person creates favorable conditions for the optimal functioning of all body systems, i.e. affects directly their health and physical condition. On the other hand, to encourage a person to do systematically physical exercises on their own of no direct utilitarian value (short-term benefits, good) for him is possible only by forming his respective needs, i.e. acting in a certain way in his spiritual sphere. Therefore, physical exercises are a kind of pivot around which human motor skills and his intellectual development in the course of specialized activities are combined. They are the primary means used to realize different human and social needs in the field of physical culture.

Physical exercise as one of the means of maintaining public health. In the study of the problem posed two main questions should be answered. First: Does regular physical exercises influence the biologically inherited aspect of the human nature? Second, if so, how? This problem needs a special analysis, because in the scientific literature it is only mentioned [21, 47]. The results of these studies suggest that physical culture influences biologically inherited aspect of the human nature. However, this influence is not direct but indirect. Its essence is as follows. The practical activity of people with the use of physical exercises within various forms of physical culture (physical education, sport and physical recreation, physical rehabilitation, adaptive physical culture) increases the health level of an individual. This demonstrates the direct effect of physical exercises on the human biological nature, thus creating favorable conditions for the development of his healthy offsprings. This effect will be important from the perspective of evolution of Homo Sapiens only if it covers quite a lot of people, as species is a unit of the evolutionary process. Consequently, to form stable adaptive changes leading to transfer of high level good health from generation to generation (social function of physical culture), physical culture should involve in the sphere of its influence a significant number of people (its educational function). Only in this case, if we consider the actualized problem from the perspective of evolutionary changes of the biological species, significant public health benefits of physical activity arise. The existence of the confirmed relationship is proved by many research materials [3,14, 25, 37 etc.] which suggest that the public impact of recreational activities can be achieved only when more than a third of the state population is engaged in recreational physical activity at a sufficient level.

Our analysis suggests that the key social function of physical education, sport, physical recreation, rehabilitation and adaptive physical culture is to provide physical health, and as these forms of physical culture involve in active physical exercises great number of people of different ages, then public health in general. This is the essence of the key (integral) function of the modern system of physical culture, that is, such a function that is inherent in all its forms and determines its integrity. It is a reflection of the fundamental principle, which states: the whole social system of modern physical culture has recreational and educational orientations. This is shown in its "spiritual-physical" (by Yu.M. Nikolaev [32, 33]) nature.

Social mechanism for self-development of physical culture (the peculiarities of operation of the law of the relationship of needs and activity). The analysis of the problem shows that the main driving force that determines the social and biological vectors of human development is related with the satisfaction of a range of personal needs [18]. On this occasion, famous philosopher A.G Spirkin [40] notes that "all our life is in fatal dependence on our needs, without this life is dying". A person interacts with the environment, particularly through the implementation of his requirements. Such an interaction is varied as varied is the range of human needs. The diversity of human needs determines the range of cultural values, which in the end is a means of satisfying them. The individual activity of people underlies this process. These activity forms special (competitive) interpersonal relationships, which under certain conditions is the basis of the mechanism of their self-organization and leads to various social phenomena (including physical culture). This process can be described as follows. In order to meet a specific need, a person joins the relationship with other people who have similar aspirations. This interaction can lead to the unification of these people in order to jointly obtain the necessary benefits and values to meet common needs. This promotes the formation of social groups, characterized by the relative integrity and representing an independent subject of social action [13]. Thus, group needs are being formed, which, in contrast to individual, are more stable and permanent. Group needs can be generated, and the process of meeting them can get systematic, only after proper public scrutiny. If the group needs that have emerged during human activities to meet the individual needs do not get a positive assessment, it could cause the collapse of the relevant social phenomenon and even to its complete disappearance (for example, modern pentathlon is in this situation [35]). If the public assessment of the phenomenon resulting from human activities to meet common needs, is positive (eg, competitive activity of people behind the development of sport or their activity to maintain their own health), then such a phenomenon, and thus the activity of people become a public concern. On this basis, under certain conditions, a relevant social institution can be formed (eg, social institute of physical culture [20]), which is a particular social form of consolidation and implementation of the specialized human activity. It is the social institute that provides stable operation of public relations, resulting from human activities in the area of meeting the common needs, and this can mean that such a social phenomenon is a component of public culture.

The above analysis leads to the conclusion that the social mechanism of the self-development of physical culture manifests itself in a dialectical unity, on the one hand, the competitive activities of people to meet the diverse needs in the use of exercises, and on the other - public assessment of such activities [44, 46]. In the process public assessment serves as a way to select the variety of social phenomena that occur as a result of such activity, those that are important to society. It can manifest itself through the inclusion of such activities into existing socially significant events (eg, the system of education, religious rituals, various socially significant movements, etc.). Or it can be formed based on specific features of physical exercises (health effects of their use, their staginess, etc.). The mechanism described above is a kind of a "locomotor system" of physical culture, which ensures its development in the complex and contradictory conditions of the historical evolution of society. It reveals the nature of the operation of the law, which states: the development of physical culture is caused by a social system in which it occurs.

The peculiarities of using this law when analyzing the historical evolution of physical culture (its genesis), which is an integral part of the theory, is beyond the scope of this paper. Its results are presented in detail in previous studies [44, 48 et al.]. However, given the focus of this article, they still need to be identified. It should be noted that the correct definition of perspectives of the future development of the modern system of physical culture is possible only by understanding the process of its historical evolution, it is the mirror of history that most clearly reflects the features and historically conditioned patterns of human activity related with the use of physical exercises, which eventually has led to the emergence of modern forms of physical culture. This approach reveals the following trends of the historical development of physical culture. First, the religious trend, characterized by the fact that special exercises were used by people when performing religious rituals, and their social significance was displayed in it. Secondly, educational trend, based on recreational and educational functions of exercise. Its formation is due to the socially significant need to use such exercises in upbringing of the younger generation, which has been gradually transforming into the modern system of physical education. Thirdly, staginess trend, its development is based on the spectacular function of physical exercises. The historical evolution of this trend is due to the fact that exercise is incorporated into a variety of customs and traditions that have existed at a certain phase of social development, that provided their high social value, therefore, creating the prerequisites for the further evolution of this activity, which led to the emergence of modern sport. Its social significance is caused, on the one hand, by the satisfaction of individual needs of people in self-expression, achieved during competitive activity based on their physicality, and an the other hand - the public needs in different shows, formed within competitive activity of people with the use of physical exercises. Fourthly, the recreational trend, the development of which is due to the recreational function of physical exercises. The formation of this trend in the historical evolution of physical culture (mid-nineteenth century) was conditioned, on the one hand, by the gradual public awareness of the health impact of physical exercises on the body, on the other hand, the formation of the social need for the healthy generation of people. This trend promoted physical recreation, rehabilitation and adaptive physical culture.

Physical culture science is a science on physical culture, which is a set of theories and concepts, which systematize and generalize the objective knowledge about various aspects of functioning of physical culture in the society. Finishing the analysis of the basic statements of the theory of physical culture one should pay attention to its name. This question has been discussed on the pages of "Teoriya i Praktika Fizicheskoy Kultury". Different names were offered such as "generalizing theory of physical culture", "integral theory of physical culture", "general theory and methodology of physical culture", "theory and methodology of physical culture" etc. However, none of them had been recognized in the scientific community. That is why it is advisable to agree with Yu.M. Nikolaev [32] and give a simple name to this theory - "theory of physical culture". However, to define correctly its role in the process of objective perception of physical culture as a specific social and cultural phenomenon, it must be compared with the existing theories and concepts. In addressing this question one should proceed from the fact that physical culture, as part of human culture, is both one of the spheres of social activity of people associated with the use of exercises, aimed at cognition and spiritual and physical transformation of the human corporal nature in all its diversity. Consequently, the basic element of functioning of physical culture in the society is a specific activity of people that produces special versions of their relationships not only within, but also around this activity that just distinguishes physical culture as a kind of universal culture. Since man is both a subject and an object of the cultural-historical process, this activity has two dimensions. On the one hand, it must be viewed from the standpoint of the present, as one that assists in the operation of physical education, sport and physical recreation, physical rehabilitation, and adaptive physical culture in the modern society. In this approach the studies of the procedural component of activity (regularities, content, means, principles of organization, organizational and educational technologies, results, etc.) and the conditions of its implementation in specific subject areas of human activity come to the forefront. It is this approach, as the principal, that is being implemented in special theories and concepts of physical education, sport, physical recreation, physical rehabilitation, and adaptive physical culture. They answer to the key question: how to organize the educational and training process within the framework of a particular form of social manifestations of physical culture? On the other hand, this activity of people needs to be analyzed in the context of the cultural and historical process. Theory of physical culture is intended to cover these aspects. It reveals the driving forces and the objective laws of the development of physical culture as a special sociocultural phenomenon and shows on this basis the key tendencies of its historical evolution (past, present and prospects for further development); clarifies its place and role in the system of social relations; highlights the relationship between various forms of its social manifestations (general and specific); consolidates the experience of social implementation of the system forming (health and education) function; highlights the specifics of personality formation under the influence of this type of culture.

Conclusion. The allocated above proves that the theory of physical culture, as well as the theories and concepts uniting the nature of physical education, sport, physical recreation, physical rehabilitation and adaptive physical culture, have different object fields of perception and a common object area. Consequently, the marked scientific theories and concepts, revealing different aspects of public operation of physical culture (theory of physical culture – development of physical culture in context of a cultural-historic process and special theories - the process of operation of its various social forms via in terms of modernity), are not contradicting but complementary, extending thus our knowledge on the quoted sphere of human social activity. They change and develop in compliance with dynamics of the educational process, providing thus objective comprehension of the essence of the social phenomenon of physical culture. In its aggregate they represent the science on physical culture [1, 5].

 

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