By Penelope Deutscher (Philosophy, Northwestern University)
University of NSW Biopolitics workshop
Sydney Australia
Monday June 26, 12:00-2:00pm, Morven Brown Building 209

PDF of flyer

Müllner, R.
Self-Improvement In and Through Sports: Cultural-Historical Perspectives
(2017) International Journal of the History of Sport, pp. 1-14. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/09523367.2017.1301431

This study examines the development of the modern self-improvement cultures in and through sports using three paradigmatic historic examples. It is theoretically based on Michel Foucault’s and Gilles Deleuze’s analyses of the disciplinary society and the society of control and especially on Foucault’s concept of ‘self-technologies’. Empirically, the question of improvement will be investigated by the means of three different paradigmatic fields of movement cultures in three different historical periods. The first one is the invention and the establishment of systematic rational enhancement regimes in the second half of the nineteenth century, which can be summarized under the term physical training. The second one focuses on the formation of the big number of bodies, as we can determine it, for example, within the ‘sport-for-all-initiatives’ during the 1970s in Europe (especially in Germany and in Austria). Third, we take a look at the highly individualized fitness practices from 1980 to the end of the millennium and finally some questions concerning the post-Fordist body regimes as we can find it, for example, in ‘life-logging–’ or ‘quantified-self-movement’, will be posed. © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
Body history; cultural history; fitness; improvement; self-technology

Raaen, F.D.
Placement mentors making sense of research-based knowledge
(2017) Teacher Development, pp. 1-21. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/13664530.2017.1308429

Placement mentors’ role increasingly implies demonstrating to student teachers how research-based knowledge in combination with experience-based knowledge may be relevant in teachers’ professional work. This is a challenge. Placement mentors are often unsure how to make sense of research-based knowledge. Frequently there is a mismatch between what they say they can do and what they actually show they are able to do. This paper explores how placement mentors’ reasoning is formed by their lack of power to define what research-based knowledge consists of. The analysis in this paper is based on an investigation of the epistemological premises that placement mentors rely on when they validate research-based knowledge. The theoretical–analytical point of departure is Michel Foucault’s conception of power-knowledge. © 2017 Teacher Development

Author Keywords
clash of epistemologies; making meaning of research-based knowledge; Placement teachers; power-knowledge; teacher education

Konoval, B.
From sexuality to governmentality: the Oedipus complex of Michel Foucault
(2017) Modern Intellectual History, pp. 1-33. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1017/S1479244317000038

The figure of Oedipus haunted the thought of Michel Foucault from the outset of his tenure at the Collège de France, in association with several key philosophical and historical projects, and enduring until the conclusion of his career. However, it was with Foucault’s account of an “Oedipus complex”—one that operated “not at the individual level but at the collective level; not in connection with desire and the unconscious but in connection with power and knowledge” (“Truth and Juridical Forms,” 1973)—that Foucault was able to enlist Oedipus for a genealogy of “sexuality” and, furthermore, of “governmentality,” such as would increasingly preoccupy him through the mid- to late 1970s. Foucault’s attention to classical texts—in particular the Oedipus Tyrannos of Sophocles and the Republic of Plato—thereby helped to clear a critical pathway through the conventional Marxism embraced by the “repressive hypothesis,” and to arrive at a Nietzschean genealogy of sexuality and power.

Governing by Affect.
Subjectivity and control in times of post-industrial economy

Workshop, 22–24 June, 2017

Collaborative Research Center
SFB 1171 “Affective Societies”
Freie Universität Berlin



In our networked societies, the ‘social’ and the ‘affective’ are being discovered as central to governing individual behavior. New instruments in marketing, corporate governance, politics and public administration address the individual less as a rationally deliberating, but as a socially and affectively co-dependent actor. Media interfaces are set up to gain and capitalize real-time knowledge of individuals’ affective states and social ties. Behavior is modulated by techniques such as ‘nudging’, social marketing and affective designs – in modern Human Resource Management, on social media platforms, in our ‘smart cities’. Together with the widespread adoption of Big Data technologies, these developments amount to a paradigm shift in governance that is yet to be understood by critical social and political philosophy. Based on a range of interdisciplinary contributions, our workshop will discuss this complex field of phenomena, mapping the challenges of critical social theory in the age of ‘affective societies’.

The goal of this workshop is to analyze these trends specifically with respect to emerging new modes of subjectivation: this is the production and framing of subjectivity based on affective governance.

Given the various shifts in the way human relations are shaped in digitized media and economics, the question becomes pressing: Can the philosophical notion of the subject be re-articulated as a tool for critical analysis? Broadly in line with the late Foucault, this implies:

In what way is governance by affect not merely acting externally upon its individuals, but through them by way of inducing complicit modes of reflexivity? Can we uphold a notion of the subject as addressee and agent of critique? Or is self-reflexive subjectivity being sidelined in the moment when power shifts from producing individ- uals to producing affects and relations?

Perryman, J., Ball, S. J., Braun, A., & Maguire, M. (2017). Translating policy: governmentality and the reflective teacher. Journal of Education Policy, 1-12.

DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2017.1309072

This paper deploys some concepts from the work of Michel Foucault to problematise the mundane and quotidian practices of policy translation as these occur in the everyday of schools. In doing that, we suggest that these practices are complicit in the formation of and constitution of teacher subjects, and their subjection to the morality of policy and of educational reform. These practices are some ways in which teachers work on themselves and others, and make themselves subjects of policy. We conceive of the processes of translation, its practices and techniques as a form of ethics, the constitution of a contemporary and contingent version of professionalism through the arts of self-conduct. In all of this, it is virtually impossible to separate out, as Foucault points out, capability from control. We argue that the development of new capacities, new skills of classroom management, of pedagogy, bring along with it the intensification of a power relation. We are primarily concerned with Foucault’s third face of power, pastoral power or government and how this interweaves and overlap with other forms of power within processes of policy and educational reform.

Keywords: Policy translation, power, Foucault, governmentality, care of the self, reflection

Marín-Díaz, D.L.
The key is the individual: Practices of the self, self-help and learning
(2017) Educational Philosophy and Theory, 49 (7), pp. 710-719.

DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2016.1204737

ABSTRACT: The article analyses the boom of self-help discourses and their relationship with pedagogic discourses, with the purpose of marking the centrality of the individual in the practices of contemporaneous government. Two exercises are important in this analysis of an archaeological genealogical perspective: on the one hand, it comprehends the impact which self-help has in the life of its readers and practitioners, allowing the consolidation and broad diffusion of tools to guide one’s own life and define modes of being within the world; on the other hand, thinking that the techniques provided by self-help may proceed in a millenary tradition of practices intended for the government itself. The study of the series self-help—education—government allows some of the main elements of these discourses to be identified and shows the centrality of the notion of learning among them. © 2016 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia.

AUTHOR KEYWORDS: education; government; learning; practices of the self; Self-help

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