Somatic pedagogies: Critiquing and resisting the affective discourse of the neoliberal state from an embodied anarchist perspective.

Article


Firth, R. 2016. Somatic pedagogies: Critiquing and resisting the affective discourse of the neoliberal state from an embodied anarchist perspective. Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization. 16 (4), pp. 121-142.
AuthorsFirth, R.
Abstract

This paper takes as its context widespread feelings of anxiety within neoliberal society caused by a
combination of material and discursive factors including precarious access to work and resources. It is
argued that the state uses ‘discourses of affect’ to produce compliant subjects able to deal with (and
unable to desire beyond) neoliberal precarity and anxiety. Critical education theorists have argued that
discourses of ‘well-being’, emotional support and self-help have gained increasing purchase in
mainstream education and in popular culture. These discourses are dangerous because they are
individualized and depoliticized, and undermine collective political struggle. At the same time there
has been a ‘turn to affect’ in critical academia, producing critical pedagogies that resist state affective
discourse. I argue that these practices are essential for problematizing neoliberal discourse, yet existing
literature tends to elide the role of the body in effective resistance, emphasising intellectual aspects of
critique. The paper sketches an alternative, drawing on psychoanalytic and practiced pedagogies that
aim to transgress the mind-body dualism and hierarchy, in particular Roberto Freire’s work on
Somatherapy.

JournalEphemera: Theory and Politics in Organization
Journal citation16 (4), pp. 121-142
ISSN2052-1499
Year2016
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC-ND
Web address (URL)http://ephemerajournal.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/contribution/16-4firth.pdf
Publication dates
Print01 Nov 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Sep 2015
Accepted07 Sep 2015
Copyright information© 2016 The author
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