Archive for the ‘Journal articles’ Category

Ferry, M.D., Richards, C.
Biopedagogy digitalized: ‘educational’ relations among participants on an online weight loss surgery forum
(2014) Critical Public Health. Article in Press.

Foucault uses the term ‘biopower’ to describe the totalizing effects of regulation of life through the manipulation of political messages, such as those in the obesity debate. This paper attempts to uncover ways in which these flows are made manifest among members of a public online weight loss surgery (WLS) discussion forum. Drawing from Foucauldian scholarship, we spent two-and-a-half years conducting a critical discourse analysis of over 2000 conversational threads on one US-based public discussion forum devoted to providing a support community to those who were considering WLS. Our intent is to analyze how ‘truths’ about the surgery are constructed among and between the community participants at different stages of the surgery to identify how they engage with ideologies associated with contemporary obesity and healthism.

Author Keywords
biopedagogy; biopower; obesity; public pedagogy; weight loss surgery

DOI: 10.1080/09581596.2014.940849

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Parchev, O.
The body-power relationship and immanent philosophy: A question of life and death
(2014) European Legacy, 19 (4), pp. 456-470.

According to Foucault, the human body is the targeted object of modern power systems. In his genealogical studies, Foucault describes the manner in which these power systems leave an imprint on the body and utilize knowledge of the body as an indirect means of exercising subtle forms of control. In recent years, several researchers have claimed that the status of the body, subsumed as it is by modern power networks, has become a means for conducting a unique political critique in which the human being is viewed as an agent of oppression and freedom. This article takes a fresh look at Foucaults notions of life and death that underpin the critical understanding the body-power relationship. While this approach recognizes the completeness of subjective structuring processes, it also enables the formulation of new insights regarding the status of the modern individual as the subject of separate and independent modes of speech and action.

DOI: 10.1080/10848770.2014.919191

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Peter C. O’Brien, Performance Government: Activating and regulating the self-governing capacities of teachers and school leaders, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Published online: 04 Jul 2014

DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2014.930682

This article analyses ‘performance government’ as an emergent form of rule in advanced liberal democracies. It discloses how teachers and school leaders in Australia are being governed by the practices of performance government which centre on the recently established Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and are given direction by two major strategies implicit within the exercise of this form of power: activation and regulation. Through an ‘analytics of government’ of these practices, the article unravels the new configurations of corporatized expert and academic knowledge—and their attendant methods of application—by which the self-governing capacities of teachers and school leaders are being activated and regulated in ways that seek to optimize the performance of these professionals. The article concludes by outlining some of the dangers of performance government for the professional freedom of educators and school leaders.


performance government,
professional standards,
professional learning

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Silcock, M., Hocking, C., Payne, D.
Childhood constructions of contemporary technology: Using discourse analysis to understand the creation of occupational possibilities
(2014) Journal of Occupational Science, 21 (3), pp. 357-370.

Ten children aged 10-12 years were audio recorded discussing and demonstrating the types of technology they regularly used at home. A critical discourse analysis of the transcriptions was completed to identify dominant discourses the children deployed. Philosopher Michel Foucault’s theories on the history of existence, power relations, the subject, and ethics of the self informed the analysis. Three discourses were identified: virtual reality as a new dimension, panoptic play, and technological play as risky. The children appeared to assume subject positions within their play that have been created by and through their technology use. These subject positions were created by the unique historical context of the present era and have allowed new relations of power to develop for children. The discourses and associated discursive constructions appear to have an effect on the occupational possibilities available to children at this life course stage, indicating the emergence of norms of behaviour and relations of power unique to technological play.

Author Keywords
Children; Discourse analysis; Foucault; Occupational possibilities; Technological play

DOI: 10.1080/14427591.2013.832647

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Steve Matthewman, Michel Foucault, Technology, and Actor-Network Theory,Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, Volume 17, Issue 2, Spring 2013, Pages 274-292

DOI: 10.5840/techne201317210
Pre-publication copy

Author’s blog

While Michel Foucault’s significance as a social theorist is undisputed, his importance as a technological theorist is frequently overlooked. This article considers the richness and the range of Foucault’s technological thinking by surveying his works and interviews, and by tracking his influence within Actor-Network Theory (ANT). The argument is made that we will not fully understand Foucault without understanding the central place of technology in his work, and that we will not understand ANT without understanding Foucault.

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Robin James, Neoliberal Noise: Attali, Foucault, & the Biopolitics of Uncool, Culture, Theory, and Critique 52 (2):138-158 (2014)

Further info

Is it even possible to resist or oppose neoliberalism? I consider two responses that translate musical practices into counter-hegemonic political strategies: Jacques Attali’s theory of “composition” and the biopolitics of “uncool.” Reading Jacques Attali’s Noise through Foucault’s late work, I argue that Attali’s concept of “repetition” is best understood as a theory of neoliberal biopolitics, and his theory composition is actually a model of deregulated subjectivity. Composition is thus not an alternative to neoliberalism but its quintessence. An aesthetics and ethos of “uncool” might be a more viable alternative. If and when they function as bad, unprofitable investments, uncool practices like smoothness (predictable regularity) can undercut neoliberal imperatives to self-capitalization. I consider both the impact of neoliberalism on music, and how the study of music can advance theories of neoliberalism.

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Annmaria Shimabuku, Schmitt and Foucault on the Question of Sovereignty under Military Occupation, Política común, Volume 5, 2014

1. A Violation or Production of Sovereignty?

This essay examines the geopolitical underpinnings of Carl Schmitt’s well-known definition of the sovereign as “he who decides the exception” (Political Theology 5) mainly through The Nomos of the Earth (1950). It is in this later work, written after Schmitt had borne witness to the liberation movements of Europe’s colonial territories alongside Germany’s defeat in both world wars, that he contextualized the historical formation of sovereignty in terms of the colonization of the New World and occupatio bellica within Europe from the 16th century onward. In reading The Nomos of the Earth, one cannot help but sense nostalgia for days past—a romanticization of the jus publicum Europaeum that grounds his critique of a new global (dis)order characterized by the transnational flow of capital and concomitant espousal of universal human rights moderated respectively by the American dollar and U.S. military as “world police.” His vitriolic critique of “American imperialism” that violates the sovereignty of postwar European and postcolonial states certainly carries political clout for critics of American Empire (“Modern Imperialism in International Law” 31). However, what exactly is this violated sovereignty? Is this a violation of the traditional form of territorial sovereignty, or a violation of a new form of sovereignty that has given way to an order of globalization? If so, what are its contours?

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