Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Ali Meghji (2014), Moving away from Bourdieu and reproduction: Foucault, resistance and gender in secondary school, Paper for ‘Foucault and education: Retrospect and Prospect‘ conference (University of Sheffield).

Paper available on site

The way in which I will be defending the utility of Foucault’s works for educational research is through the idea that Foucault’s analytics of power enables us to analyse resistance in schools. Many Foucauldians analyse how educational systems create particular subjectivities, however I wish to put Foucault on a spectrum with Bourdieu; with Bourdieu on the one side illuminating reproduction and focusing on the macro, and Foucault on the other side emphasising resistance and focusing on the micro in educational institutions. My example of resistance will be homosexuals and masculinity – how dominant masculine-gender norms are challenged in educational institutions. This will draw on a series of in-depth qualitative interviews demonstrating how particular homosexual individuals constructed their identities through resistance to hegemonic discourses and practices. This way of using Foucault also answers the Habermasian critique that Foucault never offers any examples of resistance in his ‘analytics’ of power.

I will thus strongly disagree with Marshall’s comment that ‘Foucault has little to offer to practising educators’.

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