Foucauldian critique of positive education and related self-technologies: some problems and new directions
By focusing on positive education, this article draws out the educational implications of Binkley's Foucauldian critique of neoliberal subjects being pressured to learn how to manage their emotions. From the latter author's perspective, positive education self-technologies such as school-based mindfulness training can be construed as functioning to relay systemic neoliberal imperatives down to individuals. What this interpretation overlooks, however, is that young people are not automatically and unambiguously disempowered by the emotion management strategies they are taught at school. Arguably, positive education contributes to the formation of resistant educational subjects with an emotional toolkit that equips them to mount oppositional action against neoliberalism. Foucault's work can be interpreted in a way that is not inconsistent with seeing positive education as having such liberatory potential.