Category Archives: Book Chapters

Discipline and the dojo

Parkes, R. J. (2009). Discipline and the dojo. Paper presented in the ‘Complicating understandings of discipline’ symposium at the annual conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), Canberra (ACT),
November 29 – December 3.

“You must be very disciplined?” is a question I’ve been asked many times, almost the instant after I’ve revealed my twenty years of involvement in the martial arts. It rehearses a popular perception of the martial arts, and is frequently the motivation of many a parent who has brought their child to a dojo in order to “become more disciplined”. This paper is concerned with the productive nature of discipline. That is, with what discipline produces. I use the martial arts as a case study to explore theoretically and empirically Foucault’s (1977; 1982/1994) claim regarding the productive nature of power and discipline, particularly because it so frequently is depicted as a site of ‘serious’ discipline. Informed by the later Foucault, I explore both the constraining and enabling effects of discipline as it manifests in and through the martial arts; and consequently I investigate the way discipline is central to the act of becoming in the dojo. This is not performed in some celebration of martial arts. Rather, I am interested in using the martial arts as a case study to understand the complex ways in which discipline, desire, and power circulate and interact to produce particular kinds of subjects. That is to say, I will argue that there is not one set of ‘disciplinary’ practices (Foucault, 1977) that is constraining, and another set that is enabling. Instead, I hope to make the case that all disciplinary constraints are precisely enabling forces that operate on and through the individual martial artist as a means of self-formation; and that participation in a disciplinary regime or process results in the ‘production’ of a particular kind of person, individual, or martial artist.

The above conference paper was an abridged version of the argument published in the edited collection below:

Parkes, R. J. (2010). Discipline and the dojo. In Z. Millei, T. G. Griffiths, and R. J. Parkes (Eds.), Re-theorizing discipline in education: Problems, politics and possibilities (pp. 76-90). New York: Peter Lang.

Click on the book cover image to locate a copy of the chapter.

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Rethinking social justice discourse after poststructuralism

Social Justice Pedagogy Across the Curriculum
Parkes, R. J., Gore, J. M., & Elsworth, W. A. (2010). After poststructuralism: Rethinking the discourse of social justice pedagogy. In T. Chapman & N. Hobbel (Eds.), Social justice pedagogy across the curriculum: The Practice of freedom (pp. 164-183). New York: Routledge.

It is common for poststructural analyses of curriculum and pedagogy to question perceived pedagogical truths as part of a strategy of challenging injustices produced through the institutions, practices and knowledge structures of education. However, poststructuralism itself has often been subject to the criticism that it is incapable of offering anything other than critique, that it fails to provide pedagogical and curricular alternatives or direction for educational reform. In this chapter we explore the implications and inherent contradictions of poststructural analyses for pedagogy in general, and for social justice pedagogy more specifically. Throughout this discussion, we elaborate the efficacy of poststructural analyses in and for social justice education, arguing that poststructural theory can inform a productive rethinking of social justice pedagogy. In its concern with local manifestations of inequality and injustice, we argue that poststructuralism offers new spaces of freedom for the enactment of a social justice agenda in education.

This chapter was described by the editors in their preface as “one of the clearest articulations of post-structuralism that we have encountered” (Chapman & Hobbel, 2010, xiv).

Bringing theory to doctoral research

Gulson, K. N., & Parkes, R. J. (2010). Bringing theory to doctoral research. In P. Thomson & M. Walker (Eds.), The Routledge doctoral student’s companion: Getting to grips with research in education and the social sciences (pp. 76-84). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

This chapter takes the proposed title as an invitation to explore the role of theory in educational research, and presents a particular understanding of ways to bring theory into doctoral research. The authors are convinced of the need for, and subsequent enactment of, theoretically informed doctoral undertakings; that is the ways in which doctoral students can, and should, be cognisant of the pleasures and perils of using theory in educational doctoral work, and that theory is in fact a necessity in order to become a scholar. Thus, in this short chapter we consider what theory is in educational research, in albeit a limited way, and then reflect on our own doctoral experiences to look at how theory provides a means of finding one’s own voice in the field. Gulson explores the work of spatial theory that he brought to his doctoral study in critical policy studies; while Parkes examines the use of post-colonial and poststructural theory in his doctoral exploration of History curriculum after postmodernism. The authors conclude by suggesting that theory operates as a form of permission that constitutes the scholar, and that theory is necessary for crafting a scholarly trajectory of one’s own.

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Aligning intellectual development with curriculum, instruction and assessment

Cantwell, R. H., Scevak, J., & Parkes, R. J. (2010). Aligning intellectual development with curriculum, instruction and assessment. In R. H. Cantwell & J. Scevak (Eds.), An academic life: A handbook for new academics (pp. 16-24). Camberwell, Victoria: ACER Press.

I have two co-authored chapters in this primer for new academics, both of which explores aspect of curriculum design in higher education. This particular chapter argues that University curriculum is complex and abstract, and becomes increasingly more complex and abstract as students progress through their degree programmes. It explores the kinds of intellectual demands that typify academic learning, how these change over time, and how to align curriculum, instruction and assessment to ensure rigour in learning design.


The tutorial as cognitive apprenticeship: Developing discipline-based thinking

Parkes, R. J. & Muldoon, N. (2010). The tutorial as cognitive apprenticeship: Developing discipline-based thinking. In R. H. Cantwell & J. Scevak (Eds.), An academic life: A handbook for new academics (pp. 55-64). Camberwell, Victoria: ACER Press.

I have two co-authored chapters in this primer for new academics, both of which explores aspect of curriculum design in higher education. This chapter focuses on tutorials as a space for enacting cognitive apprenticeship. Tutorials are a pedagogical cornerstone of on‐campus academic learning environments. They are frequently constructed as the complement to a lecture program, and remain a default feature of contemporary courses in higher education. Their purposes are many and varied, and it is beyond the scope of this chapter to present the kind of comprehensive survey that would be required to do justice to the many forms and structures that tutorials take in the contemporary academy. However, one feature that all tutorials have in common, regardless of their structure, is the opportunity they provide for students to interact closely with a disciplinary expert. While we recognise this is not their only purpose, it is this opportunity presented by tutorials that we want to focus upon in this chapter. We see the tutorial as an important space within which complex disciplinary understandings can be made visible through careful learning design. To make clear how tutorials might operate to build complex disciplinary understandings, we explore the tutorial within a learning design framework called “cognitive apprenticeship”.

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