Dangerous disciplines: Understanding pedagogies of punishment in the neoliberal states of America
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Public schools deploy a range of processes and practices that help constitute the formation and legitimation of certain knowledges, relationships, skills, values and, ultimately, subjectivities. School discipline regimes are one of these practices. Exercising their power through pedagogical modes of address, these regimes are currently organizing relationships throughout school cultures that reflect the values and encourage role performances associated with neoliberal capitalism. This research paper describes and analyzes two widely used discipline regimes-zero tolerance/hyper-criminalization and positive behavior interventions and support (PBIS) -through Foucault’s theories of governmentality and biopolitics. These two regimes provide mirror images of the primary modes of punishing and disciplining under neoliberalism: criminalization and individualization. The paper will also explore how neoliberalism subjects schools to processes of enclosure, but also how schools themselves have become sites productive of neoliberal subjects through the content, values and interests embedded in the curricula of PBIS and criminalization which students must master.
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