Beyond school boundaries: New health imperatives, families and schools

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This article draws upon research examining the impact of new health imperatives on schools in the United Kingdom. Specifically, it examines features of emerging surveillant relations, which not only speak to the changing nature of health-related practices in schools but have particular currency for broader understandings of theorisations of surveillance, and which complicate the view that schools are bounded or territorialised in enacting forms of governance. The article explores how the assemblages through which these biopedagogies are formed constitute emerging interdependent relations between schools and families. The article recognises the presence of amalgamated and extended pedagogies in schools; approaches within which deliberate attempts were made to ensure whether what students learn in schools was continued beyond the formal school contexts. Among the schools that took part in the research reported in this article, many of them recognised that families constituted a site of learning about health. To this end, there were deliberate attempts to inculcate particular health values and meanings within school and to extend these across other sites of learning such as within the family. The use of surveillant practices utilised to achieve this end is a specific focus of this article and speaks to the broader aspects of what Giroux and others have referred to as ‘public pedagogy’ which recognise public, popular and cultural spaces as pedagogical sites. The article concludes by suggesting that studies in biopedagogy would benefit not only from a more nuanced understanding of the surveillant forces of pedagogy, but also of the pedagogical flows and forces of what are seen as forms of surveillance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-654
Number of pages20
JournalDiscourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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