SAGE Journal Articles

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Kirk, D., & Spiller, B. (1994). Schooling the docile body: Physical education, schooling and the myth of oppression. Australian Journal of Education, 38(1), 78 – 95.

Abstract: There is a popular perception of physical education in Australian schools as an oppressive practice. In this paper, we attempt to qualify this myth of oppression and extend some of the arguments surrounding it. First, we build on some of Foucault's arguments to show how children's bodies were worked on in Victorian elementary schools in pursuit of the twin aims of docility-utility, a key requirement of capitalist Australia. Second, we point out that the disciplinary practices which constituted early physical education were in themselves a central part of the notion of schooling. Our argument is that schooling was primarily concerned with fostering economically productive citizens. This form of physical education and notion of schooling were available to Australian educators at this time as a result of the disembedding of social practices, driven by the increasing use of clock time, the arrival of print, the invention of childhood, and the objectification of the human body.

Trethewey, A. (1999). Disciplined bodies: Women’s embodied identities at work. Organization Studies, 20(3), 423 – 450.

Abstract: This study employs a Foucauldian feminist lens to analyze how organizational and gendered discourses are quite literally written upon women's bodies in ways that often constrain women's professional identities. Nineteen professional women were interviewed about their definitions and experiences of their professional bodies. The interview data are summarized in the following three emergent and telling themes: (1) a professional body is a fit body; (2) a professional body (purpose-fully) emits signs and messages through bodily comportment, nonverbal behaviours, and performances. Thus, the body is conceived as a text to be read; and, (3) a professional woman's body is positioned as excessively) sexual. The task of controlling the female body is made more difficult because the female body has a tendency to overflow. The undisciplined, excessive body points to the female body's otherness. These three themes indicate how professional women's bodies are normalized and made docile in organizational contexts. Additionally, the interview data imply that both men and women are disciplinarians. Finally, the political implications of women's embodied professional identities are discussed and future research directions are presented.