Öhman, M.
Losing touch – Teachers’ self-regulation in physical education
(2017) European Physical Education Review, 23 (3), pp. 297-310.

DOI: 10.1177/1356336X15622159

The question of physical interaction is especially relevant in school physical education, where a lot of the teaching and activities are based on body movements. However, the issue of ‘touching’ has been questioned in recent years. This paper takes its starting point in the discourse of child protection and the growing anxiety around intergenerational touch in educational settings. The purpose is to examine PE teachers’ self-regulation in relation to the child protection discourse and no touch policies. What sort of strategies have the teachers developed for dealing with physical contact in their teaching? It is a matter of problematising teachers’ pedagogical interactions in PE practice. The study takes its starting point in a discourse-analytical tradition using a methodology based on Foucault’s ideas about governmentality. Twenty-three teachers (10 women and 13 men) aged 30–63 and at different stages in their careers were interviewed. The results show two different self-regulating processes: (1) adaptation using avoidance-oriented strategies and (2) resistance using downplaying-oriented strategies. The paper discusses potential consequences for PE teachers’ pedagogical work if they feel that they have to protect themselves instead of operating in a way that is in the best interest for students’ learning and development. The study aims to contribute to the literature on child protection and ‘no touch’ policies and to a more multifaceted understanding of physical interaction in PE. © 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.

Author Keywords
Foucault; Physical education; physical interaction; self-regulation; touching

The Seventh Function of Language
A Novel
Laurent Binet; Translated from the French by Sam Taylor. Farrar, Straus and Giroux,

From the prizewinning author of HHhH, “the most insolent novel of the year” (L’Express) is a romp through the French intelligentsia of the twentieth century.

Paris, 1980. The literary critic Roland Barthes dies—struck by a laundry van—after lunch with the presidential candidate François Mitterand. The world of letters mourns a tragic accident. But what if it wasn’t an accident at all? What if Barthes was . . . murdered?

In The Seventh Function of Language, Laurent Binet spins a madcap secret history of the French intelligentsia, starring such luminaries as Jacques Derrida, Umberto Eco, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Julia Kristeva—as well as the hapless police detective Jacques Bayard, whose new case will plunge him into the depths of literary theory (starting with the French version of Roland Barthes for Dummies). Soon Bayard finds himself in search of a lost manuscript by the linguist Roman Jakobson on the mysterious “seventh function of language.”

A brilliantly erudite comedy with more than a dash of The Da Vinci Code—The Seventh Function of Language takes us from the cafés of Saint-Germain to the corridors of Cornell University, and into the duels and orgies of the Logos Club, a secret philosophical society that dates to the Roman Empire. Binet has written both a send-up and a wildly exuberant celebration of the French intellectual tradition.

Silverman, D.L.
Boundaries: Bourgeois Belgium and “tentacular” modernism
(2017) Modern Intellectual History, pp. 1-24. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1017/S1479244317000245

The sweep, originality, and plenitude of Jerrold Seigel’s work have transformed our field. His prolific and creative scholarship encompasses the history of ideas, the history of cultural forms, and the history of intellectuals, areas typically examined separately as coherent and discrete sections of intellectual history. I have been reading Seigel for many years now, assigned his texts in my classes, and watched students come alive as they encounter his Marx, his Bohemia, his Baudelaire, his Foucault, his Simmel. My own research and writing have been deeply influenced by key ideas generated in Seigel’s body of work, testing and contesting, for example, his project of historicizing subjectivity and identity in modern Europe. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017

Foucault Studies
Number 23: August 2017: Discipline and Punish Today

Table of Contents


Sverre Raffnsøe et al.

Special Issue on Discipline and Punish Today

Jörg Bernardy, Frieder Vogelmann
Susanne Krasmann
Tobias Matzner
Petra Gehring
Thomas Biebricher
Philipp Wüschner


Nancy Ettlinger
Brooke M. Beloso

Book Reviews

Amy Allen, The Politics of Ourselves: Power, Autonomy and Gender in Contemporary Critical The-ory (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), ISBN: 978-0-231-13622-8
Mujde Erdinc
Kyle Harper, From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013), ISBN: 978-0674660014
Suzanne Verderber
Wendy Brown, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution (New York: Zone Books, 2015) ISBN 978-1-935408-53-6
Oscar Leonard Larsson
Bruce Moghtader, Foucault and Educational Ethics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) ISBN 978-1-137-57495-4
Samantha Wesch

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Peter Miller – The Calculating Self
4 June 2011, A Conference at Birkbeck College, University of London Reflecting on 20 years of The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality

Backdoor Broadcasting Company. Academic podcasts

Peter Miller – The Calculating Self

Over thirty years ago, it was said that we go in search of our selves through the genitals. Today, in contrast, we find who we are through the incessant calculations that we perform on our selves and others. This is no doubt to overstate things somewhat, but recent events in financial markets and their consequent impact on public services, combined with ongoing attempts to “modernise” public services, have given even greater prominence to the calculating self in all its manifestations.

If I can claim to have learned anything from the writings of Michel Foucault, it is the importance of exploring how ways of calculating go hand in hand with the shaping of subjectivity or forms of personhood. For some years now, along with others, I have been trying to explore how one particular set of governmental practices – which goes very roughly under the heading of accounting – has enabled the “calculated management of life” (Kurunmäki and Miller, 2006; Miller, 1994, 1998; Miller and O’Leary, 1987) . This adjustment or alignment between the accumulation and distribution of persons and their capacities on the one hand, and the accumulation and distribution of capital on the other, was at the heart of what Foucault called “bio‐power”. But, perhaps due to the long shadow cast by Marxism, this is something that has been relatively neglected by those working within and through “governmentality” (Miller and Rose, 2008; Rose and Miller, 1992).

I offer here four propositions that I have found helpful as a way of framing the sorts of questions that can be asked about this specific, albeit increasingly generalised modality of being and acting. Many (if not all) of these will be familiar to those who have been working in and around governmentality, but I want to suggest that they have a particular meaning when viewed in terms of the calculating self.

First, and in common with many other technologies of the self, to attend to the calculating self means attending to the possibilities for acting on oneself and on the actions of others. But, by abstracting from the substance of things, and by distilling substantively different kinds or classes of things into a single financial figure, a particular type of action is made possible here. It is one that allows the actions of “free” individuals to be linked, directly or indirectly, to the requirements of markets and the commensuration that they engender. The term “mediating instruments” (Miller, Kurunmäki and O’Leary, 2010; Miller and O’Leary, 2007) captures well this ability of the calculating self to carry within it at least a dual set of ideas, whether these pertain to science and the economy, or medicine and finance.

Second, a concern with the calculating self means paying attention to the particular ideas of personhood that are brought into play in all these attempts to act on the actions of others. It concerns what Nietzsche called the possibility of breeding an animal with the right to make promises, but again in a specific sense. This is not a matter of conducting investigations at the level of political theory, but within and across the lowly domain of administrative discourse and administrative science, where notions of “responsibility accounting”, “decision‐making” and much else besides have sought to impose a sort of moral constraint or template on the actions carried out under their aegis. It is here, I suggest, that we see one of the clearest forms of a type of power that presupposes rather than annuls the capacities of agents.

Third, I suggest we need to attend to the assemblages within which the calculating self operates, and the territorialisations they seek to impose. For the calculative instruments of accountancy not only transform the possibilities for personhood. They also construct the calculable spaces that individuals inhabit within firms and other organizations. Whether it is an actual physical space such as a factory floor or a hospital ward, or an abstract space such as a “division”, a “cost centre” or a “profit centre”, or even an idea such as “failure”, the calculative instruments of accountancy territorialise, and in the process reframe the objects and objectives of governing. And they do so in such a way as to link highly specific domains such as healthcare or social care with larger political categories.

Fourth, a concern with the calculating self means that we need to understand better its ability to travel. While some ideas and practices travel “light”, others appear too heavy to travel easily. Put differently, the interdependence between the instruments for the governing of conduct, and the rationalities that articulate the aims and objectives of governing, seems at times to encounter limits regarding what can be done and where (Mennicken, 2008). Standard costing, for instance, was equally at home in the very different assemblages of the Soviet Union and the United States in the early decades of the twentieth century. Audit, likewise, seems today to travel effortlessly across a vast range of territories (Power, 1997). But other devices (for instance, something called accruals accounting) seem to travel less easily. This suggests that we still have much to find out about how the calculating self travels, and how this peculiarly modern form of personhood is fashioned and refashioned in historically specific assemblages.

Progressive Geographies

Foucault-The-Birth-of-Power-coverFoucault: The Birth of Power is reviewed at LSE Review of Books by Syamala Roberts.

In Foucault: The Birth of Power, Stuart Elden outlines how the theorisation of power was the essential tool developed within Foucault’s work and political activities in the early 1970s following his return from Tunisia. Drawing on writings, interviews, lectures and unpublished or newly available manuscripts, Elden offers an indispensable read for those looking to gain further insight into Foucault as a writer, philosopher and activist, recommends Syamala Roberts. [continues here]

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