Somatic multiplicities: The microbiome-gut-brain axis and the neurobiologized educational subject

Publication Name

Educational Philosophy and Theory


Therapeutic translations of the microbiome-gut-brain (MGB) axis are reconstructing the educational subject in a manner amenable to Foucauldian analysis. Yet, at the same time, under the sway of MGB research social scientists are taking a biosocial turn that threatens the integrity of Foucault’s historicizing philosophical project. Meeting that challenge head-on, this article argues that the MGB axis augments the neurobiological constitution of the educational subject by means of a dietetic mode of subjectivation. Absent a pedagogical element, there is a hollowness to critical academics’ claims that holobiontic self-conceptions springing from the axis can elicit a resistant subjectivity. Though wild pedagogies might inform a resistant tactics of the self, contemporary self-technologies are–as Foucault has taught us–a pale shadow of the ancient Greek conception of dietetics as an holistic, embodied and ensouled practice. At the intersection between the disciplinary apparatuses of criminology and education, therefore, the MGB-driven biosocial turn unambiguously reinforces the social control function of schooling.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access



Link to publisher version (DOI)