chapter  2
14 Pages

Post-structural methodologies: the body, schooling and health


Post-modernism and post-structuralism often appear to be used interchangeably in educational writing and research, with the term post-modernism more likely to be used in North America and post-structuralism more likely to be used by those following a European tradition of philosophy and social analysis (Scheurich 1997). There are arguably, however, differences that go beyond terminology. The latter position tends to draw on the work of Foucault and Derrida, the former on the work of Lyotard. Different questions are raised and considered by each. What they share is ‘the need to problematise systems of thought and organisation’ (Usher and Edwards 1994: 1) and fixed notions of identity or social relations. In addition, the term post-modernity is also used globally to describe a period which some suggest has already passed and others, has yet to arrive (Giddens 1991; Kirk 1997). This chapter is not so much concerned with the debates about terminology or about post-modernity as a period. It looks at how post-structuralist theory can help to understand the relationship between the self and the social and, specifically for the purposes of this book, how the embodied self is socially constituted in relation to social institutions and discourses associated with health and physical education.