Obesity discourse and the crisis of faith in disciplinary technology

Gard, Michael and Kirk, David (2007) Obesity discourse and the crisis of faith in disciplinary technology. Utbildning och Demokrati, 16 2: 17-36.

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Author Gard, Michael
Kirk, David
Title Obesity discourse and the crisis of faith in disciplinary technology
Language of Title eng
Journal name Utbildning och Demokrati   Check publisher's open access policy
Translated journal name Education & Democracy
Language of Journal Name swe
ISSN 1102-6472
Publication date 2007-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 16
Issue 2
Start page 17
End page 36
Total pages 20
Place of publication Oerebro, Sweden
Publisher Pedagogiska Institutionen, Oerebro Universitet
Language swe
Subject 160508 Health Policy
Formatted abstract
According to Kirk (1998) (following Foucault) a shift in corporeal power has been underway since the late 18th century in many ‘western’ countries, from an external form of power and locus of control to an internal form and locus. In light of the increased volume of discourse around the alleged obesity crisis (Gard & Wright 2005) we revisit and attempt to update Kirk’s thesis about the regulation of bodies in schools; is the widespread concern about an obesity crisis producing new ways of managing and disciplining children’s bodies? We explore in some detail a case study of curriculum development in Health and Physical Education in Ontario, Canada where we argue that the grades 1–8 syllabus trades the productive compliance and liberal individualism of previous eras for a new layering of physical education discourse and the production of cheerfully courteous and responsible individuals. We complete this analysis by asking whether this curriculum development in an era of obesity discourse signals a crisis of faith in disciplinary technology. We end by noting the need for the retention of spaces within school physical education where young people can question assumptions about corporeality.
Keyword Physical education
Obesity crisis
Corporeal regulation
Disciplinary technology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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