Foucault News

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

Müllner, R.
Self-Improvement In and Through Sports: Cultural-Historical Perspectives
(2017) International Journal of the History of Sport, pp. 1-14. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/09523367.2017.1301431

This study examines the development of the modern self-improvement cultures in and through sports using three paradigmatic historic examples. It is theoretically based on Michel Foucault’s and Gilles Deleuze’s analyses of the disciplinary society and the society of control and especially on Foucault’s concept of ‘self-technologies’. Empirically, the question of improvement will be investigated by the means of three different paradigmatic fields of movement cultures in three different historical periods. The first one is the invention and the establishment of systematic rational enhancement regimes in the second half of the nineteenth century, which can be summarized under the term physical training. The second one focuses on the formation of the big number of bodies, as we can determine it, for example, within the ‘sport-for-all-initiatives’ during the 1970s in Europe (especially in Germany and in Austria). Third, we take a look at the highly individualized fitness practices from 1980 to the end of the millennium and finally some questions concerning the post-Fordist body regimes as we can find it, for example, in ‘life-logging–’ or ‘quantified-self-movement’, will be posed. © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
Body history; cultural history; fitness; improvement; self-technology

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