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In Perpetual Motion

Theories of Power, Educational History, and the Child


Bernadette Baker

In Perpetual Motion is an «historical choreography» of power, pedagogy, and the child from the 1600s to the early 1900s. It breaks new ground by historicizing the analytics of power and motion that have interpenetrated renditions of the young. Through a detailed examination of the works of John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Herbart, and G. Stanley Hall, this book maps the discursive shifts through which the child was given a unique nature, inscribed in relation to reason, imbued with an effectible interiority, and subjected to theories of power and motion. The book illustrates how developmentalist visions took hold in U.S. public school debates. It documents how particular theories of power became submerged and taken for granted as essences inside the human subject. In Perpetual Motion studiously challenges views of power as in or of the gaze, tracing how different analytics of power have been used to theorize what gazing could notice.