Publication Details

This book chapter was originally published as Wright, J, Disciplining the body: power, knowledge and subjectivity in a physical education lesson, in Lee, A and Poynton, C (eds), Culture and Text, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2000.


Extract: In recent years there has been a move in feminist and social theory towards an interest tin the body as a social and cultural site. The dominant discourses in Western society have traditionally, emphasized the body as a physical and biological given, to be understood like other 'natural' phenomena, through empirical investigation. Philosophical, feminist and poststructuralist discussions around the body (Foucault 1979, Foucault 1981, Bartky 1988, Bordo 1990, Grosz 1994) have demonstrated how our knowledge of the body and the body itself is constituted in specific cultural and historical circumstances and in the context of particular relations of power. This happens in many different sites including the print and electronic media, in schools, public spaces and in and through institutional discourses associated with the law, medicine, education, sport, religion and so on.

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