By Karen M. Smith (auth.)
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Additional info for The Government of Childhood: Discourse, Power and Subjectivity
124 The general drive for order, which he views as characteristic of this age culminated in a mass rounding up and enclosure in Conceptualising Governmentality 21 institutional settings of deviant members of European societies. 128 We will be looking at the development of schooling in more detail in later chapters, but it is important to state that the ‘negative’ functions of education which were such an important impetus to the development of popular schooling in early modern Europe were still regarded by utilitarian philosophers as the most powerful rationale for state intervention in education in the nineteenth century129 and remain an important aspect of educational discourse to the present day.
154 Since the nineteenth century numerous programmes of action such as mass infant immunisation have been introduced in many countries in order to increase the physical and moral ‘ﬁtness’ of the child population. These biopolitical measures intersect at the micro level with the multifarious ‘tutelary’ means155 by which states seek to regulate the conduct of individual parents. Although rooted in the idea of the collectivity, biopolitical power can be deployed in ways which differentiate between different segments of the population.
The main focus of social work is the well-being of children – the aim is to optimise family functioning by intervening in ways which stimulate rather than supplant parental responsibility, nevertheless there is the possibility of dismantling the family unit should this be deemed necessary in the child’s ‘best interests’. 234 Child protection laws legitimised a high level of incursion into the private domain of the family to the extent of permitting removal of children from parental custody. 235 While parental autonomy occupies a privileged position in liberal theory it is understood as conditional not absolute.
The Government of Childhood: Discourse, Power and Subjectivity by Karen M. Smith (auth.)