Publicness' of Education: Affective atmospheres, embodiment and relationality

Year: 2021

Author: Wrench, Alison, Garrett, Robyne

Type of paper: Symposium

In his Security, Territory and Population lectures Foucault charts the emergence in the eighteenth century of the ‘public’, which incorporates opinions, behaviours, customs, fears, prejudices as these relate to the population. Foucault argued further that the ‘public’ represents those aspects of ‘population’ that ‘one gets a hold on’ through education. Health and Physical Education (HPE), for instance, has long held utilitarian value in terms of producing healthy, productive, individually responsible citizens who can contribute to population security. Shaping bodies, dispositions, opinions, attitudes, behaviours are of central concern. HPE is also a distinct and specific space of publicness, whereby bodies and movement capabilities of students and teachers alike are constantly on public display. Pre-service and in-service teachers along with students also develop knowledge, affective understandings of about bodies, health physical activity and selves beyond the spaces of HPE. In this paper we first interrogate what ‘what one gets a hold on’ in HPE, as a public space, and through media, cultural spaces and health promotion campaigns that operate as public pedagogical spaces. Affective relationships to corporeality, movement competencies and sense of self frame our analysis. In our next move weWe extend our analysis of the publicness of education in general and HPE in particular to investigate ‘affective atmospheres’ associated with ‘public sphere events’, where people come together, act in general accord or as one to interrupt common sense understandings and practices around physical activity, sport, bodies and health. Specifically, we investigate ‘public sphere’ events, media materials (traditional, social and digital) and documentaries through the terrain of affective atmospheres, embodiment and relationality. In concluding we make a case for pedagogical approaches that foreground these interrelationship as means for encouraging inclusive, equitable and decolonial ways of ‘ways of being, doing, and knowing’ in HPE.