chapter  14
11 Pages

Endnote: the embodiment of consciousness: Bernstein, health and schooling


Post-structural theories invite us to consider the possibility that power resides in knowledge, that discourse can be reproduced or contested in a multiplicity of sites and is not held centrally by the state or a conspiratorial group (Skelton 1997). But how are particular forms of knowledge and discourse encoded and translated into pedagogical practices and with what consequences for identity and consciousness? We share Bernstein’s view that Foucault’s analysis of power, knowledge and discourse is a mighty attempt to show the new forms of the discursive positioning of subjects. Yet there is no substantive analysis of the complex of agencies, agents, social relations through which power, knowledge and discourse are brought into play as regulative devices; nor any discussion of modalities of control. It is a discourse without social relations. Further, Foucault ignores almost completely any systematic analysis of the common denominator of all discourses, education and the modalities of its transmission (Bernstein 1996). Here, then, we ask, how are wider social forces, economic interests and trends such as those mentioned throughout this book embedded and encoded in the practices of schooling, and ultimately internalised as distinctive forms of embodied consciousness? In pursuing this question we move from Foucault to the work of Bernstein, and elaborate on one of the major themes that has run throughout this and other chapters, that physical education and health (PEH) curricula are now increasingly dominated by pedagogic modalities expressing body perfection and performance codes.