2. Framing the research problem. The problem and research questionsApplying Foucault? Why, where, how?DiscourseSubjectivityGovernmentalitySelecting, managing and analysing the data . 3. The problem and research questions. The work of both teachers and students in the middle and later years of schooling is made significantly more difficult when students have not picked up literacy and numeracy skills in their early years of schooling. A student who is struggling to read along with the class,25
1. Applying Foucault? Putting theory to work in an educational research project
3. 3 The problem and research questions The work of both teachers and students in the middle and later years of schooling is made significantly more difficult when students have not picked up literacy and numeracy skills in their early years of schooling. A student who is struggling to read along with the class, or unable to spell, quickly loses concentration and self esteem. It is frequently the students with literacy problems who 'play the fool', which not only further impedes their own learning, but disrupts the rest of the class as well. A downward spiral of behavioural problems leading to the early abandonment of formal schooling is the result. (Kemp, 1996, emphasis added).
5. 5 What makes some things important, a constant concern, a focus of ongoing debate, argument, inquiry?What makes some things important, a constant concern, a focus of ongoing debate, argument, inquiry?
6. 6 Problematisation This development of a given into a question, this transformation of a group of obstacles and difficulties into problems to which diverse solutions will attempt to produce a response, this is what constitutes the point of a problematization and the specific work of thought. (Foucault, 2000, p.118)
7. 7 My problem My study began with a problem in the present—the tying together of adolescence, schooling and English/ literacy as a source of anxiety and as a site for programs of rescue—and examined the way that this problem was assembled historically
8. 8 Discourse The concept of discourse, in the Foucaultian sense, refers to the ‘controlling, positioning, and productive capacities of signifying practices’ (Threadgold, 1997, p.58). In this sense, a discourse is a ‘group of statements which provide a language for talking about—a way of representing the knowledge about—a particular topic at a particular historical moment’ (Hall, 2001, p.72).
9. 9 The order of discourse Discursive practices are characterized by a ‘delimitation of a field of objects’, the definition of a legitimate perspective for the agent of knowledge, and the fixing of norms of the elaboration of concepts and theories. Their effect is to make it virtually impossible to think outside them. To think outside them is, by definition, to be mad, to be beyond comprehension and therefore reason.
10. 10 The order of discourse It in this way that we can see how discursive rules are linked to the exercise of power; how the forms of discourse are both constituted by, and ensure reproduction of the social system, through forms of selection, exclusion and domination. ‘In every society’, Foucault writes, ‘the production of discourse is controlled, organised, redistributed, by a certain number of procedures whose role is to ward off its powers and dangers, to gain mastery over its chance events, to evade its materiality.
11. 11 Discursive practices Discourses are not just systems of representation, but the basis of actions—discursive practices—that shape the world and what is possible to do within it:
Discursive practices are characterized by the delimitation of a field of objects, the definition of a legitimate perspective for the agent of knowledge, and the fixing of norms for the elaboration of concepts and theories. Thus each discursive practice implies a play of prescriptions that designate exclusions and choices. (Foucault, 1977, p.199)
12. 12 How did discourse help me think about my problem? challenging previous theories about the ‘discovery’ of adolescence (biological)
challenging previous theories about the ‘invention’ of adolescence (critical-reconceptualist)
challenging meta-narratives of ‘progress’, ‘redemption’ or ‘apocalypse’
13. 13 Explaining change …first, bracketing all the old forms of strained continuity which ordinarily serve to attenuate the raw fact of change (tradition, influence, habits of thought, broad mental forms, constraints of the human mind), and insistently making plain instead all the intensity of difference, establishing a painstaking record of deviation; second, bracketing all psychological explanations of change (the genius of great inventors, crises of conscience, the appearance of a new cast of mind), and turning instead to define as carefully as possible the transformation which, I do not say provoked, but constituted change. (Foucault, 1991b, p.56)
14. 14 Activating the theory of discourse One way of analysing a discourse is to consider it as a process of ‘formation of objects’. Foucault says this involves:
mapping the surfaces of emergence of the object
describing the authorities of delimitation defining show can speak about the object
analysing the grids of specification used to classify, group and hierarchise the object (Foucault 1972)
15. 15 Subjectivity The human being is not the eternal basis of human history and human culture but a historical and cultural artifact. (Rose, 1998, p.22)
16. 16 How human beings are made ‘subjects’ (Foucault 1986, p.208) through being made into objects by disciplines
through being objectivised by ‘dividing practices’
through turning himself or herself into a subject
17. 17 Discourses speak us [I]ndividuals come to speak as particular kinds of subjects—to speak themselves into being—through speaking the discourses that enable the particular institution. (Lee & Poynton, 2000, p.5)
19. 19 Activating the theory of subjectivity What labels, metaphors and titles were given to the older child as a subject in the discourses of schooling and the English curriculum?
What dividing practices and grids of specification were used to group, differentiate or otherwise identify the older child as a subject in the discourses of schooling and the English curriculum?
What invitations and practices were made available to the older child for making themselves subject to the discourses of schooling and the English curriculum?
20. 20 Governmentality The ensemble formed by institutions, procedures, analyses and reflections, the calculations and tactics that allow the exercise of this very specific albeit complex form of power, which has as its target population, as its principal form of knowledge political economy, and as its essential technical means apparatuses of security. (Foucault, 1991a, p.102)
21. 21 Population [F]rom the eighteenth century, new intellectual techniques (political arithmetic, statistical survey) operating within new governmental institutions (bureaus of economic management, public health, social assistance, public education) began to transform government into a series of domain-specific ‘problems’ open to expert analysis. ... it was in this sphere of ‘governmentality’ that a pastoral school system could present itself as an appropriate instrument for transforming the capacities of the population into a problem and object of government. (Hunter, 1994, p.28)
22. 22 Populational reasoning By defining groups in particular ways and maintaining records that gave material qualities to the construction of groups, populational reasoning “normalized” certain characteristics. What were socially constructed criteria appeared in time as “natural attributes” (e.g., “racial characteristics”). The historical and cultural specificity of the reasoning became submerged, and the appearance of the criteria as “natural” became reinforced through scientific techniques that were built around gathering data about the attributes. (Baker, 1998, p.131)
24. 24 Human technologies Human technologies involve the calculated organization of human forces and capacities, together with other forces - natural, biological, mechanical – and artefacts –machines, weapons – into functioning networks of power. Within such a composition, elements are brought together that might appear, at first sight, to belong to different orders of reality: architectural designs, equipment and technical devices, professionals, bureaucracies, methods of calculation, inscriptions, reformatory procedures and the like. (Rose, 1999, p.8)
25. 25 Activating governmentality Networks of:
other forces (natural, biological, mechanical etc)
26. 26 Analytic questions deriving from the theories A genealogy of subjectivity along five pathways:
Problematisations—where how and by whom aspects of the human are rendered problematic?
Technologies—the means and programs developed to govern, shape humans
Authorities—those who can speak the truth about human problems
Teleologies (the forms of life which are the ideals, exemplars or aims for practices and programs for working on humans
Strategies—procedures for regulating humans that are linked to wider political, moral, social objectives and domains (adapted from Rose, 1998, pp.25-28).
27. 27 Beyond progress, redemption and the apocalypse—the concept of the dispositif [P]rogrammes don’t take effect in the institutions in an integral manner; they are simplified, or some are chosen and not others; and things never work out as planned. But what I wanted to show is that this difference is not one between the purity of an ideal and the disorderly impurity of the real, but that in fact there are different strategies which are mutually opposed, composed and superposed so as to produce permanent and solid effects which can perfectly well be understood in terms of their rationality, even though they don’t conform to the initial programming: this is what gives the resulting apparatus (dispositif) its solidity and suppleness. (Foucault, 1991c, p.81)
28. 28 Data set The Education Gazette (EG) published monthly by the Education Department (1900-1929)
Curriculum documents including the Course of Instruction for Primary Schools (CI), post-primary school courses, and the public examinations’ syllabi. (1874-1929)
Parliamentary Papers (PP) of the South Australian Parliament (1874-1929)
Educational reports which were influential in South Australia in the planning of state education for the older child (1880-1920)
32. 32 Human technologies - drill
33. 33 Human technologies – drill
34. 34 Human technologies – drill To teach drill successfully, the closest attention to every minute detail is as necessary as in conducting a writing lesson. (1885 SAGG, p.120)