From the panopticon to the playground : disciplinary practices

Tait, Gordon (2000) From the panopticon to the playground : disciplinary practices. In Meadmore, Daphne, Burnett, Bruce, & Tait, Gordon (Eds.) Practising Education : Social and Cultural Perspectives. Prentice Hall-Sprint Print, Frenchs Forest, N.S.W, pp. 7-18.

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It is easy to take many of the practices that constitute the contemporary school for granted. Timetables, academic records, rows of desks, playgrounds, guidance counsellors now all seem a natural and inevitable part of an optimal learning environment. However, the evidence suggests that they did not appear by chance. Instead, they were put in place, albeit often in a piecemeal and haphazard way, as part of the process by which a new type of institution was constructed. By understanding the school as a disciplinary society, constituted through a variety of diverse practices, it becomes possible to re-interpret the way we have come to educate ourselves. No longer is the modern school some kind of pedagogic inevitability—simply the best and most obvious way to educate, the end result of two thousand years of trying to finally get it right. Rather, mass schooling, as we know it, is an historical by-product of changes in the way society was organised. It is a contingent collection of particular forms of government, deployed at different historical moments, often for quite different administrative and educational reasons.

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ID Code: 28822
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Governance, Foucault, Discipline, Surveillance, Liberalism
ISBN: 1740092244
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Deposited On: 25 Nov 2009 23:07
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2010 16:34

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