The disposition of concern: an exploration into the affects of the power-knowledge dynamics uncovered during research into pupils’ perceptions of terrorism (2016)

Quartermaine, A.
The disposition of concern: an exploration into the affects of the power-knowledge dynamics uncovered during research into pupils’ perceptions of terrorism
(2016) International Journal of Research and Method in Education, pp. 1-13. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/1743727X.2016.1186631

In recent years, counter-terrorism measures have become incorporated into the UK education system, with the latest 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act expanding on previous government policy by making it mandatory for schools to be actively involved with counter-terrorism measures [Clause 21, H.M. Government 2015. Counter-Terrorism and Security Act. London: Crown Copyright, 18]. However, during my research into pupils’ perceptions of terrorism, I discovered that conducting such discussions within the classroom setting were restricted from the outset. These findings are useful in demonstrating the difficulties facing those expected to deliver government policy and highlight how education researchers (and teachers) need to be aware of certain considerations prior to engaging in such sensitive subject matter with young people. This article provides an overview of my findings in this regard and demonstrates the complexities associated with discussing the topic of terrorism, in particular it’s relationship with religion, within schools. By using Foucault’s philosophical insights into power-knowledge [[1975] 1991. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. London: Penguin] to analyse this data, I discovered a common trait, which I categorized as ‘the disposition of concern’, that affected and restricted the scope of such discussions. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
education; Foucault; Terrorism

Education Journal articles

Foucault & Religion (2017)

Foucault & Religion
What consequences has Michel Foucault’s thought had for the study of religion?

March 10-11, 2017 | Swift Common Room and Lecture Hall

For more information, contact conference organizers Daniel Schultz ( or Maureen Kelly (

This two-day conference will bring scholars from a range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences into a conversation about Foucault and religion.

How has Foucault’s thought contributed to the formation of “religion” as an object of inquiry in different fields? What are the points of contact between practices of the self (spiritual exercises) and the anthropology of ethics?

How do empirical studies of religious and spiritual practices provoke us to rethink Foucault’s corpus?

In what ways do genealogies of the secular trade on Foucault’s analysis of power-knowledge and his use of the concept of critique?

What productive tensions are generated by interdisciplinary appropriations of Foucauldian concepts and critical-genealogical methodologies?

The “and” in the conference’s title intends to evoke a number of possible conjunctures between the two stated themes: the significance of religion within Foucault’s conceptual architecture, as well as the ways in which Foucault’s work has recast anthropological, sociological, and historical discourses on religion as an object of knowledge.

Sponsored by the Martin Marty Center at the Divinity School, the Lichtstern Foundation, the France Chicago Center, the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, the Philosophy of Religions Workshop, the Graduate Council, and the Divinity Students Association.

9:30-10:00         Coffee
10:00                 Welcome Remarks and Introduction to keynote speaker:

Arnold I. Davidson, University of Chicago

10:15-12:15         Keynote by Daniele Lorenzini, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne / Columbia University: “
Pleasures, Desire, Concupiscence: The Christian Chapter of Foucault’s History of Sexuality”

Dawn Herrera Helphand, University of Chicago
Steve CollinsUniversity of Chicago

12:15-13:15        Lunch for conference participants

13:15-14:45        Panel 1: Ethics, Self-transformation, and Political resistance 

Jonathan SchoferUniversity of Texas at Austin: “Foucault’s Ethics, the Present Day, and Deuteronomy Rabbah”

Daniel Wyche, University of Chicago: “The Practice of Dignity: The Care of the Self, Relations of Power, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott”

Respondent(s): Maureen KellyUniversity of Chicago

14:45-15:15        Coffee break

15:15-16:45        Panel 2: Askesis and the Spirituality of Thought

Jim FaubionRice University: “The Indecorous Ascetic”

Ann BurleinHofstra University: “A Passion of/for the Unlivable: Raymond Roussel and the Spirituality of Thought”

Daniel SchultzUniversity of Chicago
Xiao-bo YuanUniversity of Chicago

16:45-18:00        Reception, Swift Hall, 1st Floor, Common Room


Adult Education as a Heterotopia of Deviation: A Dwelling for the Abnormal Citizen (2016)

Sandberg, F., Fejes, A., Dahlstedt, M., Olson, M.
Adult Education as a Heterotopia of Deviation: A Dwelling for the Abnormal Citizen
(2016) Adult Education Quarterly, 66 (2), pp. 103-119.

DOI: 10.1177/0741713615618447

We argue that municipal adult education (MAE) can be seen as a place for displaced and abnormal citizens to gain temporary stability, enabling their shaping into desirable subjects. Drawing on a poststructural discursive analysis, we analyze policy texts and interviews with teachers and students. Our analysis illustrates how two distinct but interrelated student subjectivities are shaped: the rootless, unmotivated, and irresponsible student; and the responsible, motivated, and goal-oriented student. The difference is that the latter of these subjectivities is positioned as desirable. MAE provides a temporary place in time, a heterotopia of deviation, allowing students to escape precarious employment. The heterotopia places the students in a positive utopian dream of the future. A utopia is not a real place, and what is to become of the students after finishing MAE is not determined; the students themselves should shape it. If they fail, in line with a neoliberal governmentality, it is their own fault. © 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.

Author Keywords
adult education; citizenship; Foucault; heterotopia of deviation; poststructuralism; power; precarious employment

Education Journal articles

Destructionis destructio. Heidegger, Foucault et la pensée médiévale (2017)

Alain de Libera, Destructionis destructio. Heidegger, Foucault et la pensée médiévale

Collège de France
13 février – 27 mars 2017
17:00 19:00 Cours
Amphithéâtre Marguerite de Navarre – Marcelin Berthelot

Les cours et séminaires sont gratuits, en accès libre, sans inscription préalable.

With thanks to Eric Hennion for this news


‘Favourite places in school’ for lower-set ‘ability’ pupils: school groupings practices and children’s spatial orientations (2016)

Brown, C.
‘Favourite places in school’ for lower-set ‘ability’ pupils: school groupings practices and children’s spatial orientations
(2016) Children’s Geographies, pp. 1-14. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2016.1269154

This paper contributes to the recent turn within Children’s Geographies concerned with understanding and illuminating educational inequalities. The focus is upon pupils assigned to lower ‘ability’ groupings, in a school under pressure to raise attainment. The objective of the paper is twofold, firstly to consider how school grouping practices affect children’s sense of belonging in lessons, and secondly, to contextualise these findings against children’s spatial orientations within the broader school environment. It is argued that a spatial focus may shed light upon the educational policy drivers that contribute to the exclusion of disadvantaged children. Neo-liberal imperatives of accountability and performance can be seen to shape hierarchies of belonging, where pupils’ positioning in ‘ability’ groupings enables/limits the spatial agency that they can exert. Macro policy concerns are mapped onto micro school processes concerning the construction and governance of school spaces, using theoretical insights from Michel Foucault and R.D Sack. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
ability grouping; Foucault; neo-liberal education policy; R.D. Sack; school inclusion/exclusion; Spatial orientations

Education Journal articles

Foucault and the Duchess of Cambridge (2017)

Editor: What do Foucault and the Duchess of Cambridge have in common? The polo neck skivvy!

The affordable staple that has become the Duchess of Cambridge’s secret wardrobe weapon, The Telegraph, 23 February 2017

The Duchess of Cambridge is now, we can all agree, a pro in the royal dressing stakes. For her increasingly regular royal engagements, she strikes a careful balance between introducing new pieces, whether by designers she’s never worn before or old faithfuls like Alexander McQueen or L.K Bennett, and reviving favourite looks from past appearances. This means that she has become both famously ‘thrifty’ but also noted for her glamour and support of British design names. […]

But it’s the Duchess’s black polo neck jumper which she layered underneath the nipped-waist jacket that was today’s most noteworthy outfit addition. It marks the third time this year alone that Kate has worn this staple piece for a public engagement. […]

For such a useful and seemingly simple piece, the polo neck has a rather illustrious history. Its beginnings were humble, being used mostly as a practical cover-up. But during the 20th century it became a favourite of the intellectual elite. The French philosopher Michel Foucault was renowned for his love of a white jersey version.

Fashion Newspaper articles

Archive: Counter-conducts: A Foucauldian Analytics of Protest (2010)

Carl Death, Counter-conducts: A Foucauldian Analytics of Protest, Social Movement Studies Vol. 9 , Iss. 3, 2010

The influence of Foucault on studies of social movements, dissent and protest is not as direct as might be imagined. He is generally regarded as focusing more on the analysis of power and government than forms of resistance. This is reflected in the governmentality literature, which tends to treat dissent and protest as an afterthought, or failure of government. However, Foucault’s notion of ‘counter-conducts’ has much to offer the study of dispersed, heterogeneous and variegated forms of resistance in contemporary global politics. Using the protests that have accompanied summits including Seattle, Johannesburg, Prague, London and Copenhagen to illustrate an analytics of protest in operation, this article shows how a Foucauldian perspective can map the close interrelationship between regimes of government and practices of resistance. By adopting a practices and mentalities focus, rather than an actor-centric approach, and by seeking to destabilize the binaries of power and resistance, and government and freedom, that have structured much of political thought, an analytics of protest approach illuminates the mutually constitutive relationship between dominant power relationships and counter-conducts, and shows how protests both disrupt and reinforce the status quo, at the same time.

Foucault, counter-conducts, protest, summits, resistance, governmentality

Journal articles