Physical Education and the Political Child
This chapter examines how the ideal of self-governance generates practices intended to cultivate autonomy by shaping individuals’ relationships to their own bodies. Adolescence is of particular focus in this chapter, as the (lack of) maturity of adolescents is often put into question with regards to their bodily privileges, in whether or not they are able to make informed decisions regarding sexual intercourse, for example. The need to shape the development of subjects to ensure that they become productive citizens allows intervention into the lives of subjects deemed not-yet-autonomous. To qualify for the privilege of self-governance the individual must consistently exercise certain limitations and social expectations, or else risk exclusion or subjection to external control. The underlying context behind this ideal is that self-governance, rather than being an abstract set of norms and ideas, is the act of engaging a complex and shifting set of power relationships.
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