Body pedagogies, P/policy, health and gender

John Evans, Emma Rich, Rachel Allwood, Brian Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (SciVal)


Schools within a 'knowledge economy' nurture and endorse particular 'corporeal orientations', that is to say, ascribe value, meaning and potential to 'the body' (particular bodies) in time, place and space. Such processes reflect wider (national and global) socio-economic trends. In contemporary culture, these processes increasingly celebrate particular virtues—'flexible identities', the manifest aspects of 'performance' and 'corporeal perfection' (usually defined as 'the slender ideal'). Calling on the voices of a number of young women (aged 11-18) the article illustrates how these processes can intersect to seriously damage some people's health, perhaps especially those of young women and girls. The analyses suggest that the expectations of a 'knowledge economy' relating to the body and health enter the school system through two forms of P/policy: 'formal', state-sanctioned, usually legislated education Policy; and 'informal', mainly medical and health institution-based, state 'approved' but non-legislated, pseudo policy initiatives often merely reflecting expectations and pressures laundered through the popular media. Together, these P/policies define not only formal education but increasingly encode other aspects of school life, in effect, making 'pedagogy' everyone's concern, everywhere. The article highlights the relentless and inescapable nature of pedagogical activity in the Totally Pedagogised Micro Societies (TPMS) which schools have become.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-402
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


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