Problems, Politics, and Possibilities
Edited By Zsuzsanna Millei, Tom G. Griffiths and Robert John Parkes
Chapter VI: Discipline and the Dojo - Robert John Parkes 76
76 Re-theorizing Discipline in Education Chapter VI This chapter is concerned with the productive nature of discipline. That is, with what subjection within and to a discipline ‘produces’. More speciﬁcally, I am concerned with the way a “subject comes into being…comes to mastery, comes into existence and agency, through subjection” (Petersen, 2007, p. 477, original emphasis). I use martial arts training as a case study for my investigation because it is so frequently depicted as a site of ‘serious’ discipline; a somewhat ‘inﬂexible’ discipline that practitioners more or less willingly subject themselves to in order to attain mastery of the art under study. My aim is to develop an understanding of the deliberate act of subjection that is implicated in the disciplining process by which the individual is transformed through the martial arts. Resting upon Michel Foucault’s (1980, 1982/1994) thesis on the ‘double nature’ of power, I argue in this chapter for both the constraining and enabling effects of discipline as it manifests in and through the martial arts and investigate the way discipline is central to the act of becoming in the dojo.1 Eric Paras (2006) has argued that we should distinguish Foucault’s position in the 1980s, that the individual “had the ability to pursue (or not pursue) techniques that would transform its subjectival modality”, from his earlier thesis that “no individual received the choice of whether or not to undergo discipline; and only through discipline did one become an individual” (p. 123). This contrast may...
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