Publication Details

This article was originally published as Burrows, L and Wright, J, Prescribing practices: shaping healthy children in schools, International Journal of Children's Rights, 15, 2007, 1-16.


Current concerns in New Zealand and abroad about the health and well-being of young people have generated a raft of government-sponsored and educational policies and practices geared towards the production of trim, taut and fit subjects who choose wisely from the range of risky ‘options’ available to them in avowedly new and changing times. These initiatives yield consequences for children and young people who are increasingly being urged, in Foucault’s terms, to conduct “…a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and way of being…”(1997, p. 225) in an effort to ‘become’ the imagined healthful, agentic citizen. Drawing on poststructuralist theoretical resources and perspectives from the sociology of childhood, we explore the ways these practices are implicated in the constitution of children and young people as social actors. Empirical work with children and teachers, media and policy analyses, together with an interrogation of contemporary curriculum imperatives, inform our analysis with Australia and New Zealand providing the primary contexts for our investigation.

Included in

Education Commons



Link to publisher version (DOI)