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Re-Theorizing Discipline in Education

Problems, Politics, and Possibilities


Edited By Zsuzsanna Millei, Tom G. Griffiths and Robert John Parkes

For over a century, teachers, parents, and school leaders have lamented a loss of ‘discipline’ in classrooms. Caught between guidance approaches on the one hand and a call for zero tolerance on the other, current debates rarely venture beyond the terrain of implementation strategies. This book aims to reinvigorate thinking on ‘discipline’ in education by challenging the notions, foundations, and paradigms that underpin its use in policy and practice. It confronts the understanding of ‘discipline’ as purely repressive, and raises the possibility of enabling forms and conceptualizations of ‘discipline’ that challenge tokenistic avenues for students’ liberation and enhance students’ capacity for agency. This book is an essential resource for university lecturers, pre-service and in-service teachers, policymakers, and educational administrators who want to re-think ‘discipline’ in education in ways that move beyond a concern with managing disorder, to generate alternative understandings that can make a difference in students’ lives.


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Chapter VIII: Disciplinary Power and the Production of the Contemporary ‘Healthy Citizen’ in the Era of the ‘Obesity Epidemic’ - Ken Cliff 104


104 Re-theorizing Discipline in Education Chapter VIII Introduction In this chapter I examine the process of “making up” (Rose & Miller, 1992, p. 174) the healthy citizen during a time of widespread and sustained concern about the ‘obesity epidemic’. With obesity now claimed to be affecting almost all of the world’s population (World Health Organization, 2009a), and with dire predictions for health care capacity and costs, the healthy citizen and how it is constituted has taken on renewed importance as a problem for modern government. While the healthy citizen has been a notable part of sociological analyses of health, medicine and schooling for the last two decades (Burrows & Wright, 2007; Fullagar, 2001, 2003, 2009; Lupton, 1995; Petersen & Lupton, 1996), critical sociological work that specifically seeks to rethink the production of the healthy citizen in the discursive context of the obesity epidemic is only just beginning. Furthermore, the work, which does exist, suggests a range of subtle (and not so subtle) changes in health promotion, and health education policy and practice in response to this supposedly unprecedented public health crisis (for example, Gard & Kirk, 2007; Rich & Evans, 2009). In general terms the analysis in this chapter contributes to understanding the production of the ‘healthy citizen’ in the context of heightened concern around body weight, wanning morality and spiralling health care expenditure. More specifically it focuses on Foucault’s (1995) concept of disciplinary power and its role as a constitutive and productive force in the process of making up a certain type...

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