Pedagogies of doing good: problematisations, authorities, technologies and teleologies in food activism.
We have two main aims: first, to offer an analysis of the project of 'doing good' in food pedagogies through using Rose's framework. By doing good, we mean the ways in which educators--and in this case food activist educators--authorise what they do as a form of ethics; and secondly, to compare the framework to typologies of adult education which describe politics of knowledge and relations between teachers and learners (Merriam, Cafferella & Baumgartner 2007; Newman 1993, 2006; Fenwick 2006; Boud & Griffin 1987). In focusing on 'doing good', we intend to examine the ways in which food educators legitimate their interventions, and the politics of these claims (see Guthman 2008 on how white undergraduate students try to do good by 'bringing good food to others'). This is an important topic for food studies' authors who question the morality in food advice but up until now have focused less on pedagogies per se (Mol 2010; Jackson 2009; Coveney, this issue; Pike and Leahy, this issue). In the paper we argue that Rose's framework is a fruitful form of analysis for educators as it opens up the vista of what can be understood as pedagogical; expands our understanding of the types of knowledge that adult educators mobilise in their work; and finally, offers a way to examine the politics of 'doing good.'
Of course, the work of Michel Foucault has been used extensively in analysing adult education in the past twenty years (Fejes & Nicholl 2007; Fejes 2008; Garrick & Solomon 2001; Reich 2008; Chappell, Rhodes, Solomon, Tennant & Yates 2003; McLean 2012; Tennant 1998; English 2006; Swan 2009, 2008; Gore 1993). As adult education theorist, Scott McLean (2012) writes, Nikolas Rose's research is less recognised and deployed in adult education, in spite of having influenced a number of related fields. Both Foucault and Rose offer adult educators a conceptualisation of the operation of power, quite distinct from Gramsci and Marx and other theories of power used in some forms of adult education literature. It is distinct on a number of counts. First, implicit in some typologies of adult education (see table 1) is a construction of power as a possession, a see-saw model in which teachers have it or learners have it. This leads adult educators to emphasise how power should be distributed to learners, a concept of 'power-as-property' (Gore 1993: 73; Chappell et al. 2003). But for Foucault and Rose, power is exercised rather than owned. This means:
'that power is not the possession of some people who wield it over others dominating and constraining them but that it is relational and productive. Without power, nothing is achieved. But if power is not to be found in somebody's hands, or in this or that social actor's possession, then what is it and how does it manifest itself (Fox 2000: 860)?'
Power is exercised through everyday mundane activities and processes: what Foucault calls 'technologies': hybrid assemblages of diverse forms of knowledge such as advice, techniques, judgments, experts, texts, and sanctions. Technologies are highly concrete, specific forms knowledge-in-practice not generalised approaches. Through these mundane, micro, even 'minor and petty' forms of expertise, authorities such as the state attempt to govern through capacitating, not constraining us. This works in quite unsystematic, dispersed, contradictory and localised ways across innumerable and unexpected sites (Miller & Rose 1996: 12; Miller & Rose 2008; McNay 1992).
This reformulation of power is important for theorising adult education. Adult education is often conceived by scholars and activists as a site for enabling learners to liberate themselves through gaining new knowledge or becoming conscious of existing but undervalued forms of knowledge. But another point of distinction is that for Foucault, there can be no separation of power and knowledge, thus he uses the term power/knowledge. Power works through all forms of knowledge: for example, bottom-up and top-down, scientific and lay, and particularly for Foucault, self-knowledge (McHoul & Grace 1993). There is no point of origin such as an institution like the state or an elite cabal. And there is no way to be outside of power or outside of knowledge, even so called liberatory knowledge such as consciousness raising or self-reflection.
Thirdly, power is, in addition, not seen simply as a coercive force. It is also productive in the sense that we can do and be things as a result of the operation of power. Part of its productiveness is the way it operates through notions of seduction, freedom and desire rather than prohibition, coercion and punishment. Rose argues that, although these latter forms of power are still in operation they are secondary to the idea of our being governed by the idea of freedom. Thus, he writes that 'in striving to live our autonomous lives, to discover who we really are, to realize our potentials and shape our lifestyles, we become... bound in new ways into the pedagogies of expertise (1999 cited in McLean 2012). An important part of the operation of power then is that we imagine we are doing good to ourselves: getting the good life of health, wealth or happiness. When educators work with such 'pedagogies of expertise,' they too construct themselves as doing good in helping people get the good life.
In this special issue, John Coveney, Jo Pike and Deanna Leahy provide useful Foucauldian analyses of nutrition and school lunches, respectively. Our work differs in three key ways: first, we are keen to offer a framework which could be used to interrogate 'doing good' across other sites of adult education; secondly, if we accept that pedagogies work through hybrid assemblages we are interested to examine ways in which food activists mobilise diverse forms of advice, techniques, judgments, experts, texts, and sanctions and what this may mean politically. We have argued elsewhere that activists in food social movements draw on a panoply of knowledges: codified and informal; theoretical and experiential; lay and expert; embodied and cognitive; gendered, racialised and classed (Flowers & Swan 2011; see also Allen et al. 2003 for research on the place based nature of food activism knowledges). Much of what is going on in food social movements is:
'struggles over knowledge systems. The most cursory look at today's food advertisements shows that all food is embedded in a contested discourse of knowledge claims' (Goodman & DuPuis 2002: 18).
As we emphasise elsewhere the politics of knowing--what is known, who produces it and 'who is in the know'--are critical to food pedagogies (Flowers and Swan 2011). This type of politics links to our third aim which is to examine the authorisation of 'doing good' and their relations to gender, race and class. Struggles over knowledge are also struggles about the legitimacy for authority. Rose's framework encourages us to analyse the politics of 'doing good' as a form of legitimacy. Contrary to some adult education theorists, this means we cast a critical gaze at the claims to 'doing good' made by activists as we might at the claims made by institutional experts to offer us new ways to think about adult education and food activism. To do this we begin with a summary of a 'typical' adult education approaches framework, followed by an introduction to the work of Nikolas Rose; we introduce Rose's framework of problematisations, technologies, authorities and teleologies in some detail so that this could be applied to future adult education initiatives. After introducing the three types of food activist educator, we relate each of the elements of Rose's framework to illustrate quotes and themes from the activists and we conclude by asking what this means for understanding the ethics and politics of doing good.
In this section, we compare an influential typology from Griff Foley's edited book Understanding adult education and training (2000) to an alternative framework from Nikolas Rose's work. Adult education scholars such as Sharran Merriam, Rosemary Cafferella & Lisa Baumgartner (2007), David Boud (1987), Tara Fenwick (2006), Miriam Zukas and Janice Malcolm (2002), and Griff Foley (2000) have created all typologies of different traditions, orientations, identities and philosophies in adult education theory and practices. These authors describe such classification attempts as limited and simplifying but argue that they have heuristic utility in enabling adult educators to understand different theoretical and value positions within particular traditions (Foley 2000). Underpinning most of these is a classic distinction between traditions labelled liberal, behaviourist, humanist and radical. Foley's typology, abridged below in Table 1 is a useful example for this paper as it is widely used; has a long lineage (Scott 1985 which in turn is adapted from Darkenwald and Merriam 1982); and is taught on undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
We could attempt to categorise various food-activists according to these schools of thought. But for us this forecloses analysis. For example, implicit in many of these frameworks, including Foley's, is a foundational continuum of behaviourism bad; humanist so-so and progressive good. From this stems a number of effects which in our view limit examinations of adult education: first, some fairly crude assumptions about the power of the teacher and student. Second, a failure to examine the claims to 'doing good' across all schools of thought especially the so-called radical or progressive. Thirdly, this kind of table already assumes that the kinds of ideas which are informing practice are from a shallow educational pool of behaviourism, humanism and critical theory rather than the deeper and swirling eddies of knowledges used by food activists. It delineates education as if pedagogies and their supposed schools of thought are hermetically sealed and not informed by other cultural ideas. Fourthly, in assuming what already constitutes the educative, it is less useful for identifying and examining more 'concealed' pedagogies.
In contrast, Rose's framework enables us to extend our net more widely. The pros and cons of Foucauldian approaches have been much debated across a number of fields, and in particular by feminists (Luke and Gore 1992; McNay 1992; Gore 1993). For proponents--including Stephen Brookfield (2005) in his book about critical theory and adult education--Foucault's model of power as productive is particularly useful. Thus, the relations between people and social institutions are not simply coercive, but take on many aims, 'not just to control, subdue, discipline, normalise, or reform' but also to make us 'more intelligent, wise, happy, virtuous, healthy, productive, docile, enterprising, fulfilled, self-esteeming, empowered' (Rose 1996: 12). This means for Rose that we are not 'incessantly dominated, repressed, or colonised by power (although, of course, domination and repression play their part in particular practices and sectors) but subjectified, educated and solicited' (1996: 79). How then might we examine techniques of subjectification, education and solicitation in food pedagogies?
Rose's framework provides us with a 'shorthand' for such an approach to analysing power and pedagogy. First referenced briefly in a paper in one of the key journals for Foucauldian scholars, Economy and Society (1993), and then in a more extended discussion published in the book, Inventing our selves: Psychology, power andpersonhood (1996), Rose positions the framework as a set of 'pathways' for investigating the history of how we relate to ourselves (1996: 25). The set of pathways comprises what he refers to as problematizations', 'authorities', 'technologies' and 'teleologies'. We can contrast these to the categories in Foley's table to analyse adult education approaches and we compare these more extensively later in the paper.
Usefully for adult education, Rose is keen to map the concrete vocabularies, techniques and practices professionals and lay people use. Rose, himself, uses the framework to offer a capacious set of questions to examine 'psy' pedagogies (coaching, facilitation, self-help) but we suggest in this paper that it can used for analysing other educational projects such as food pedagogies. We now define, elaborate and apply each 'pathway' in turn to the accounts of three types of food activists.
We start with the idea of 'problematisations' because this concept is fundamental to Foucauldian theorising. The comparison point in adult education literature such as Foley would be 'schools of thought': behaviourism, humanist, progressive and radical. Through applying the concept of problematisations to three types of food activist educators, we want to identify how we might think differently about 'schools of thought'. Although our paper is mainly focused on Rose and Foucault, we augment their definition of problematisation with Carole Bacchi as she has developed a body of work extending the notion of problematisation to policy making (2012, 2010).
First then, Foucault defines problematisation as 'how and why certain things (behaviour, phenomena, processes) become a problem (1985: 115). The significance of this concept is in its focus on the processual:
'asking how this rendering of things problematic occurred. The term problematizing [is] a useful way of designating this as a process, for it remove[s] the self-evidence of the term 'problems.' It suggest[s] that 'problems' are not pre-given, lying there waiting to be revealed. They have to be constructed and made visible, and this construction of a field of problems is a complex and slow process' (Miller & Rose 2008: 14).
For example, a problem for some activists is that people are not eating enough organic food. But a problematisation is more than just seeing a problem: it is about how a particular group of activists, in this case, make suppositions and presumptions about what food is 'good' and 'bad,' based on certain kinds of knowledges, and how these get translated into advice, prescriptions, tips, techniques and interventions. Problematisation is about analysing the conditions of knowledge production: 'Where, how and by whom are aspects of the human being rendered problematic according to what systems of judgement and in relation to what concerns' (Rose 1996: 25)? This means analysing 'how problems are given a shape through the ways they are spoken about and through the 'knowledges' that are assumed in their shaping' (Bacchi 2010: 2). For example, of the 'problem' of madness, Foucault asks 'how and why were very different things in the world gathered together, characterized, analyzed, and treated as for example 'mental illness'?' The answer to this question provides the "elements" deemed relevant "for a given 'problematisation'" (Foucault, 1985 cited Bacchi 2012: 2). What is emphasised here is that problematisation involves a gathering together of knowledges and so in relation to food activism we can ask what is gathered by whom for what ends?
A second part of problematisation is designating certain people and behaviours as unsound and then trying to change them. In relation to food, certain types of eating are constructed variously as unhealthy; environmentally damaging; cruel to animals; unsustainable for food producers; and having unfair labour conditions for workers. Groups of people are seen to be in need of changing, depending on which of these problems is the target of reform: women, mothers, children, working classes, middle classes, young men, racially minoritised groups, migrants etc. Experts are needed to identify the problem and to provide the solutions including changing people's behaviours: for example, adult educators. People who need changing 'have to be known to be governed' (Bacchi 2012: 5). Thus, the eating of, growing of, wasting of, shopping for and cooking food constitutes a constellation of problematisations for a range of experts and professionals that include agricultural economists, statisticians, nutritionists, development planners, adult educators and health promotion workers. Problematisations produce problematic people, habits and objects and people who know, people who don't (Flowers & Swan 2011).
Finally, problematisations entail particular solutions. Environmental issues about food, for some activists, might mean buying local food. Or it might mean buying organic food that isn't local. Solutions are grounded in certain presuppositions too. So buying 'local' food grown in a 100-mile radius is based on an assumption that reducing the distance food travels prevents certain environmental problems.
Solutions can be provided in the form of advice, rules, opinions, policies, and prescriptive texts (Bacchi 2012). We can see this clearly in relation to food pedagogies with magazine columns, calorie counting, nutritional labels, recipe cards, healthy eating mnemonics etc. Through the process of problematisation, experts and solutions create subject positions, certain identities--ways of being and acting - and as a result, moralities and ethics about 'good' and 'bad' people, behaviours and objects.
Having elaborated on the pathway of 'problematisation', we analyse the accounts of three types of food educators from our research. We provide a brief summary of their key concerns about food pedagogies drawn from our coding of core themes in their accounts. Before doing that, we provide a short introduction to the activists.
The food activist educators
The data are drawn from a full-day roundtable discussion we organised for a number of food activist educators. For the purposes of our paper, we focus on Ian, Susan, Joan and Paul because they provide us with sufficient depth and heterogeneity in order to exemplify Rose's framework.
Ian is a self-employed bio-dynamics agricultural educator who runs workshops in Australia and internationally on growing foods. Bio-dynamics is based on the philosophy of Rudolph Steiner, which includes a belief that the visible, physical world is penetrated by a world of life-forces (Purdue 2000).
Susan is manager of a health promotion project aimed at encouraging 'disadvantaged people' to eat according to the principles of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating which were produced by the Commonwealth of Australia (Kellet, Smith & Schmerlaib 1998). The initiative is based on a peer education model in which local people are trained to teach cooking, healthy eating and budgeting.
Joan and Paul are farmers and advocates in a farmer's association. They have a particular interest in promoting provenance. All of the educators have a clear idea of the strategies they think will make a 'difference.' In the next section, we use quotes from our five-hour audio recorded discussions illustratively to enable us to elucidate Rose's framework and to signpost further potential analysis. Our aim is to not deride or dismiss the work of the activists but attend to the ideas and techniques they drew upon and to ask questions about their likely effects.
Summary of problematisation for each educator
The problematisation for Ian, the biodynamic farmer-educator is that foods are not being grown with the life-force of the cosmos in mind (Pfeiffer 1938; Purdue 2000). This means that people are eating foods that can make them sick physically and spiritually. Thus the land and the soil are seen as sites of action. Small-scale, commercial and not-for-profit vegetable growers and farmers are the target learners who need to change. The system of judgment is biodynamic philosophy. The solution is to show people who might grow food as farmers and gardeners how to use biodynamic principles.
The problematisation for Susan the health educator, is that poor, working class and migrant mothers are not cooking food according to the 'healthy eating messages' promulgated by government authorities (Kellet, Smith & Schmerlaib 1998). In this problematisation, the health worker imagines this group does not know what healthy food is or how to cook it on a tight budget. She says: 'people have very little money to buy their food because they are all probably on government benefits or have very small incomes.' The system of judgement relates to nutritional science and government policy on what constitutes health but also popular ideas about good mothering. There are also judgments made about how this group best learns, namely from their peers. The solution is to teach mothers how to cook and shop according to the 'healthy eating messages' agenda. She says: 'So one of the things that we are trying to teach these participants and peer educators is how to cook a healthy meal with a modest budget.'
The problematisation for Joan and Paul, the farmer-activists is that consumers are not purchasing enough 'local' food from small-scale farmers and this means they are buying the wrong kind of food which, in turn affects farmers' livelihoods and people's health. It is believed that consumers don't know where food comes from and if they did, they could make rational decisions to buy more local food that would have better nutritional properties. The site of intervention is supermarket aisles. The solution is to ensure food is labelled with information about provenance, nutritional and 'freshness' qualities. The system of judgement is a mix of social marketing, environmental ideas about locavorism and again nutritional science. Joan says:
'In supermarkets, information on the origin, freshness, or mode of generation is scarcely available. That's particularly evident in the food aisles in the fish market aisles because even though you might be buying Australian fish, you cannot differentiate between farm fish and free ranging fish in which your omega threes are substantially different. In farmed fish, the omega six is much more relevant and the omega threes are down, yet it's the omega threes that we are looking for in our diet. There have attempts to increase the disclosure by the supermarkets. But the supermarkets, their accumulators and merchants have actively opposed any attempts at transparency in the area of production, mode, origin, or date of harvest.'
Across all these problematisations are assumptions about what makes for 'good health' and individual's responsibility for growing, shopping, cooking and eating in ways which are imagined to be 'healthful.' Although Rose's work typically lacks attention to class, race and gender, we can see classed expertise in operation here and assumptions about the class and gender of those people who can and should learn different habits. Growing food requires land. Making decisions based on food provenance requires a certain level of disposable income and classed attitudes about health.
There are clear distinctions in who is seen as responsible for producing health, and what the solutions and the sites of intervention are. For example, in the case of the health educators, migrant and working class women are being responsibilised for their children's health: they are being taught how to 'mother health.' Food is seen as a kind of medicine (Gaynor 1998). But there are different assumptions being made about what constitutes 'good-for-you-food' and what it 'contains' which can facilitate health. For the biodynamic agricultural educator, food is a conduit for a life force from the cosmos. For the farmers, it is freshness and locality which in their view guarantees the vitality giving properties of food.
Underpinning these pedagogies are different ontologies of food and of physical health. But the assumption that food is only important for its role in promoting physical health is, of course, highly contested. For example, Lauren Berlant (2010) argues that the emphasis on physical health in relation to food neglects how important certain kinds of food are for mental and emotional health.
To turn now to reflect on adult education typologies: the use of problematisation can be compared to schools of thought. Schools of thought seem like static and predictable influences on how adult educators think and act. The benefit of using problematisation is to make 'thinking as practice' more visible and to show that there is nothing inevitable about it (Bacchi 2012). It gets at the processes and conditions of knowledge-making and forces us to examine taken-for-granted assumptions about what are imagined to be 'problem' actions, behaviours and people in a way that schools of thought do not. Food activists and adult educators draw on a spectrum of ideas from the predictable to the unpredictable in quite particular 'blends' which can't fit simply into the cookie cutter of behaviouralism, humanism, progressive and radical (Csurgo, Kovach & Kucerova 2008; Swan 2009). Problematisation can help us trace blends, and their effects. To put it pithily, schools of thought focus on product and homogeneity, and problematisation on process and hybridity.
Technology in the Foucauldian sense refers to various means 'invented to govern the human being, to shape or fashion conduct in desired directions' (Rose 1996:26). In Foley's adult education table, technologies can be compared to teaching methods such as lectures, group discussions, and peer education. Implicit in the classifying of teaching methods are assumptions that some are more 'empowering' than others. Technologies as defined by Foucauldians are much broader in scope than teaching methods. Technologies are assemblages of knowledges, instruments, statistics, notations, systems of judgment, buildings and persons and can take numerical, classificatory, spatial, visual, bodily and discursive forms (Ilcan and Phillips 2003). Extending what we might see as pedagogical, the emphasis is on the mundane, technical and material (Dean 1999).
A distinctive element to technologies compared to teaching methods is that they bring to view more indirect and everyday ways through which people intervene in their own ways of acting, being and living and which connect back up to political strategies. As assemblages of situated, technical and corporeal procedures, practices and tactics, they are how government works at a distance (Miller & Rose 2008: 16). Importantly, these technologies work through the notion of freeing rather than coercing or dominating us. This freeing constitutes a new form of control which values self-responsibility, self-care and self-discipline as ethical and civic.
The idea of technologies has been taken up with some alacrity by a range of adult education theorists, but few have deployed Rose's other pathways of problematisation, authorities and teleologies. Foucault defined different types of technologies which work together: technologies of production, sign systems, power and the self. Each of these technologies embodies distinct 'presuppositions and objectives about human beings' (Rose 1996: 26) and distinct forms of domination that involves changing or training the self (Burkitt 2002; Besley 2005). Adult educators have focused most on technologies of the self (see for example, Fejes 2008; Reich 2008; Chappell, Rhodes, Solomon, Tenannt & Yates 2003). In essence, these are mechanisms for self-discipline: procedures which 'permit individuals to effect by their own means or with the help of others a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and way of being, so as to transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection, or immortality' (Foucault 1988: 18). Comprised of specialised forms of knowledge which teach us how 'to estimate, to calculate, to evaluate, to discipline and to judge ourselves' (Cruikshank 1993: 329), technologies of the self are contrasted with technologies of power: the latter being exercised by institutions such as prisons and schools and which attempt to dominate through examining, normalising and classifying.
Examples of adult education scholarship on technologies of the self include Clive Chappell et al.'s analysis of self-help books, work-based learning, training in corporate culture, and HIV/AIDS education (2003); Andreas Fejes on 'the confession' in educational guidance (2008); Ann Reich's analysis of Australian vocational education and training (2008); and in relation to food pedagogy, Peter Kelly and Lyn Harrison's analysis (2009) of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen apprenticeship project.
Technologies of the self have also been discussed extensively in relation to research on food. For example, Cressida Heyes (2007) discusses how organised diet programmes and weigh-ins are presented as technologies of the self in Weightwatchers. In this issue, Pike and Leahy write about the technology of the school lunchbox and how it operates to produce a morality about good mothering. There has been in-depth work on technologies of the self in community development by Barbara Cruikshank (1993). She argues that empowerment and self-esteem can be understood as technologies. Any technology, she reminds us, operates at improving the individual and society. Importantly for Foucault both technologies of power and technologies of the self produce effects that constitute the self. Feminists and critical race theorists have gone onto argue that these also constitute gender, race and class.
Summary of technology for each educator
We focus on two central technologies for Ian, the biodynamics educator: one is a soil activator made from a mixture of chicken manure, basalt salt and other ingredients. In biodynamic circles, it is imagined to carry cosmological properties. In his teaching, he hands this out for people to try. It has material properties in terms of its biological capacities to affect soil and operates symbolically as 'dirt' operates in the organic food movement as a signifier of purity and nature. Together it works as a 'graspable ethics' i.e. that you can touch and smell (Clarke, Cloke, Barnet & Malpass 2008).
The second is the technology of hands-on learning: learners have to have a go, be it growing crops or baking bread. He says: 'In other words, I teach people about the preparations but by the time they go home they've stirred them and sprayed them so they've had the physical experience. So they can go home and initiate change.''
Having a go' works on the body rather than the intellect, and acts as a kind of witnessing to 'little miracles' which then work to convert learners. This can take several years. His is a pedagogy of conversion rather than didactism.
'It's amazing how these things happen but I've got little samples [of soil activator] you can all take home to try it.... I gave [an airport security officer] one of these little packs that you can take home and I said look, we stir it for an hour ... just make sure you dissolve it in your watering can, flick it out, we aim for a drop per square foot, and I got on the aeroplane and left ... 12 months later I went through and he was on duty. He rushed over and said; I don't want you to think that I didn't believe you, but he said that stuff is just way better than what you told me it was. So the issue is how we get people to start. Because with farming, once people have the experience, it's not me teaching them, it's actually their experience that actually drives it.'
In the case of Susan, the health promotion manager, peer education is the core technology: 'We decided that we would train ten peer educators to start off as a pilot in nutrition concepts. Very basic nutrition concepts.' Peer education--in which it is claimed that if 'peers' teach and mentor it will be more effective and progressive than if one relies on professional experts--has become a widely used intervention in health promotion since the 1980s (Turner & Shepherd 1998). Common assumptions are that peers are a credible source of information, act as role models and equalise power relations. Peerness then is used as a gloss for participatory democracy.
The peer educators in this example, however, are institutionally educated in 'nutrition basics', 'healthy eating messages' and presentation skills and are given mentors in nutrition from a local university. Their role is to run 'healthy eating activities' in the community: to do cooking demonstrations; to share ideas about nutritional values of food, and costing menus, largely aimed at poorer migrant women. The peer educators then are trained in nutritional knowledge that their 'peers' do not have. The nature of their peerness then is their coming from the same neighbourhood.
Labelling on food is the technology for Joan and Paul, the farmer-activists. In their view, the label should provide consumers with information about provenance, date of picking, place of production, ingredients, and ecological footprint. They, like many other Australian food activists, refer to this as 'truth in labelling.' As Paul puts it:
'Consumers need to be taught to read the label and require that the product they are buying has comprehensive information ... Now this is what most people don't realise. When you buy a packet of eggs, that could have been in a cool room for six months prior to being packed. Same with your vegetables. When you go to Woolworths or Coles, you'll see a date when it was packed. But that could be a week old.'
Labelling works as a technology of the self as it assumes people can be agentic by being informed (Yngfalk 2012). It is a means through which consumers can protect themselves and their bodies from harm through their everyday shopping decisions. Carl Yngfalk (2012) observes that labelling attempts to train people to trust their cognitive decision-making and 'factual' information and to over-ride their 'greedy bodies' (Mol 2010) and sense of smell, touch and taste. Even though label-knowledge will necessarily be incomplete and food information highly contested, for the farmers the labels will operate as truthful authorities.
Using the concept of technologies enables us to broaden our understanding of what can be understood as pedagogical. The food educators are using a range of human and non-human technologies, such as Body Mass Index, healthy eating pyramid, and peer educators. There are some similarities with the concept of hidden curriculum which also expands the analytical focus of what could be considered pedagogical. But hidden curriculum is based on a particular understanding of ideology. In the words of Steph Lawler:
... the concept of ideology almost always presupposes a 'real' which is both beyond ideology and obscured by it (Barrett 1991). To speak of ideology is to speak of the lies that obscure the truth, but to speak of discourses ... is to speak of the knowledges that produce the truth ... [Foucault] replaces a concern with how we come to be governed by lies and untruth (as with ideology) with a concern with how we come to be governed by truths which are made true.... It is simply not possible, in many cases, to speak or even to think "outside the true" (Lawler 2008:59).
To focus on technologies, means then to be less concerned about what is deemed to be true or not, but how what is deemed to be true comes about, and at a technical or material level. Thus there are no teaching methods or technologies that are outside power/knowledge, even that of learner or community empowerment (Cruickshank 1993; Gore 1993). So, as the feminist educational scholar Jennifer Gore observes of the often used circle chair technique in which interactional control is imagined to move from the teacher as learners sit together not behind desks in rows with eyes to the front: 'there is nothing intrinsically liberating about this practice (1993:58). Adult educators who might be categorised in polarised ways as radical or behaviourist in the literature, use similar technologies of the self such as diaries and group discussion and in so doing exercise power and knowledge. Of course, their aims and content may be different but a particular relation to oneself and others is produced for the learners and the educators through deploying technologies of the self.
But the concept also asks us to reflect on the wider relays and links of technologies to wider governmentality aims. Of course behaviourism, humanism and progressive education have all been used in the service of institutional and governmental goals but this is rarely discussed in adult education models such as Foley's. In addition, we need to ask questions about who can mobilise what kinds of technologies. It should not be assumed that they are available universally nor their effects even and undifferentiated by gender, race and class (McNay 1992).
The third dimension in the conventional adult education typology is the roles of teachers and learners and how these may be defined in relation to their relative skills, power, and expertise. Here we will consider as a point of comparison, Rose's concept of authorities. Rose asks us to study the nature of the authority of those involved in defining, making and solving problematisations: for example, food activist educators. Analysing authority means to think about: 'Who is accorded or claims the capacity to speak truthfully about humans, their nature, their problems?' (Rose 1996:27). Of the recent rise in food experts, Jane Dixon (2003) asks what they claim as their right to act. This involves us examining how authority is authorised--for example by the law, the media, culture, science, art and sport. The nature of authority varies and can be personal, allied to science, spirituality, claims to truth, or formal qualifications. For example in relation to food, John Coveney (this issue; 2006), Jo Pike and Deana Leahy (this issue), and Deborah Lupton (1996) write about the way 'nutritional science' provides authority for a range of experts such as health workers, personal trainers, and teachers.
For example, we can ask how has it come about that Australian food writer, Stephanie Alexander or British TV chef, Jamie Oliver are seen as authorities on what we eat and cook at home. Rose shows us how authority takes different forms: expert, codified and lay knowledge, but also importantly for the purposes of this paper, includes wisdom, virtue, experience and practical judgment. So Alexander and Oliver call upon nutritional-science authority but also invoke their experience as cooks and lovers of food. Adult education theorists have long recognised experiential knowledge but Rose's framework pushes us to dig deeper and interrogate who and what has authorised it. A critical dimension to authorities includes classifying people 'behaving badly.' In the field of food pedagogies there are energetic pronouncements by food educators about 'bad' eating, cooking and shopping behaviours motivated by a belief they are 'doing good.' Rose's understanding of authority is that the idea of 'doing good' --being ethical and wanting to help--is central to the legitimacy of contemporary pedagogies and educators.
For Rose, another dimension is the relation between authorities and those who are subject to them. One commonplace relation is the pastoral relation like that of a priest and a member of his or her flock, in which techniques such as confession, self-disclosure, discipleship and exemplarity (role modelling) are used. Other types of relations which we might see in adult education and food pedagogies, which are under-theorised, include solicitation, seduction, captivation and in particular, conversion (Rose 1996). As Miller and Rose put it:
It seems that there are only so many ways in which the few can change the many.you can regulate others, enmesh them in a wed of codes and standards, coupling these with sanctions for transgression and/or rewards for obedience. You can captivate others, seduce them with your charms and powers, bind them to your values through the charismatic force of your persona. You can educate others, 'change their minds' as the saying goes, train, convince or persuade them to adopt particular ways of understanding, explaining, reasoning, evaluating, deciding, such that they will recast what they wish to achieve through reckoning in your terms. Or you can convert others, transform their personhood, their ways of experiencing themselves and their world so that they understand and explain the meaning and nature of life-conduct in fundamentally new ways (2008: 147).
It is the latter they suggest which is most potent. It is what Foucault calls subjectification: turning us into active subjects who are also subject at the same time: 'we have been freed from the arbitrary prescriptions of religious and political authorities ... but we have been bound into relationships with new authorities, which are more profoundly subjectifying because they emanate from our individual desires (Rose 1996:17).
We now turn to see how we might apply this analytic concept of authority relations to the accounts of our food activists and what this enables us to scrutinise.
Summary of authorities for each educator
Ian, the bio-dynamic agricultural educator conceives himself as a facilitator. He says: 'So I don't ever go and try to solicit people. I'm not there trying to sell it so much as make it available for the people who can see it.' He claims that people change themselves through a slow-burn model of conversion. This is the quintessential model of facilitation where the educator takes a back seat and imagines the relations between teacher and learner to be anti-authoritarian and anti-didactic.
'They had an illness in themselves or their family, they got to the stage where their doctors said here's your pill, go home, don't come back, I can't do anything more for you. They're called heart-sink patients. When you turn up the doctor's; his (sic) heart sinks because he can't do anything with you. These people go home and they sit on their butt for five minutes, five days, five years, five decades, and one day they wake up and say I'm going to do something. They set off on a path of investigation. It can take them to yoga, or this, or that, or the other, but they actually out of their own passion affect change. These are the people who go down the alternative pathways.'
For Susan, the authority relation is one of the benevolent, caring professional. She said 'we didn't want to come in and intervene as experts.' The legitimation of authority is coming from a claim to be doing good; first, in imagining peer education to be more democratic than didacticism, and secondly in improving people's lives. We have discussed how Rose problematizes the first claim, and now refer to how Coveney (2006) and Lupton (1996) problematize the second claim. Coveney (2006) and Lupton (1996) point out, there are contesting views among health scientists and social scientists about how food is 'good' for you, and about whether food is to be conceived primarily as medicine, fuel, or pleasure. The idea of 'doing good'--in other words the authority that is invoked--comes from the premise that 'nutritional-science' views about health override any others.
Joan and Paul, the farmer-activists also draw on 'nutritional science' knowledge but also emphasise their first-hand experience of growing. They present themselves as modern and scientific but also being close to the land and as rural stewards. They talk about the importance of knowing about the soil and land.
'... you look at a bok choy or a vegetable, you look--when you go and buy it, you look at the bottom. If the end is brown, you know it's not fresh. I grow coriander and we had three farms. I would take it up to my Chinese neighbours who also grow it and they could tell me which farm it came from just by the taste. Now this is all to do with the nutrients and the soil.'
In so doing they are invoking what we have called elsewhere 'farming nature' (Flowers and Swan 2011): Farming improves, tames and cultivates nature, 'through generations of embodied experience' and knowledge through the senses (Franklin 2002, in Jacobsen 2004: 64). Farming nature invokes a closeness to land, animals and soil, a simpler rural life, and straightforward people. This is in contrast to industrialised and polluted city life with its corrupted bodily knowledge (Vileisis 2004). Because farming nature is about improving nature, authority for these farmer-activists comes from their bodily knowledge augmented with scientific knowledge. 'Doing good' is about connecting shoppers to 'farming nature.
In attending to authorities instead of teacher-learner roles, we can see that there are other relations between teachers and learners than those based on a continuum of control or codified knowledge. The concept enriches our understanding of the nature of teaching and learning by bringing expanded notions of authority to include, for example, the operation of wisdom, benevolence and senses, all of which can be shaped into advice which affects our lives. For Foucauldians, contemporary governmentality takes the form of advice (Phillip 2009). The key issue is through what claims and techniques can someone legitimately excise authority over the intimate details of someone else's life (Miller and Rose 2008: 149)? In our paper this would include what people cook, eat, do with their bodies, do in their domestic spheres, spend their money on and more.
A focus on authorities encourages us to question the ethics of 'doing good.' Anne-Marie Mol (2010) argues that in many discourses on eating healthily, food choices are seen as difficult with the body imagined as too 'greedy' to eat too much of the 'wrong' foods. There is some of this in the farmers' discourses but their main concern is how people access foods which are seen as 'bodily healthy'. We can see how classed, gendered and racialised notions of 'healthism' and claims to be improving 'health' enable a range of experts to claim 'a new ethical regime for authority itself' (Miller and Rose 2008:144). Julie Guthman (2008) has shown how these types of 'bringing good food to others' initiatives in the US reinforce whiteness, and she and Jessica Paddock (2008) have argued against their middle class assumptions about health. As Mol (2010) and Berlant (2008) argue we need to interrogate the ethics of health being promulgated: what about pleasure, satisfaction, and other kinds of health?
It is true that some adult education approaches examine ethics. But often assumptions are made in advance. Thus a 'boo-hooray' binary underpins characterisations of so-called instrumental education versus progressive or radical education, with instrumental education seen to be unethical and radical education the most ethical. Critical to the food activist educators accounts of their authority is the idea that they are being ethical because they don't 'impose' their expertise on learners. As Wendy Hollway (1991) notes this is a common-place idea about power and knowledge amongst adult educators, who construct this form of teaching as 'democratic' and 'participative' as if power has been waived. What has been less examined in Foucauldian analyses is the classed, racialised and gendered dimensions of authority relations --who or what is seen to be authoritative. Whose ethics count? Who can claim authority and who or what authorises it?
Finally, we contrast Rose's notion of teleologies with the more traditional concept of educational aims. Rose defines teleologies as the goals, plans and endpoints of programs, and what he calls 'forms of life'--subject positions--which are ideal ways to be and to act. These are modes of being we hope to create in our selves and in others which have an ethical valorisation to them (Dean 1996). Examples include the 'responsible prudent father'; the 'worker accepting her/ his lot;' the 'good wife fulfilling her domestic duties with quiet efficiency and self-effacement.' In the field of food, examples include the 'health-conscious citizen who heeds dietary guidelines'; 'ethically conscious consumer who cares about the sustainability of the environment'; or 'creative and cosmopolitan food adventurer.' In her study of Norwegian food discourses, Annechen Bugge (2003) presents three core subject positions: The 'gourmet' which values pleasure, the 'therapist' values health consciousness, and the 'traditionalist' which values national sentiment and nostalgia. Subject positions are forms of desireable subjectivity and clearly gendered, racialised and classed. They are not a priori preformed but specific, concrete, historical shapings. We can take up multiple, partial, elided and even contradictory positions (Fejes 2008: 655).
A second important element is that the teleologies are articulated in relation to specific problems and solutions about human conduct and connected to wider governmental objectives such as national prosperity, virtue, harmony, productivity, social order (Rose 1996). For Rose, health is one of the quintessential teleologies of governmentality. Teleologies specify undesirable and desirable behaviours at the level of populations, workers, families and society. In relation to food, Jensen has referred to 'the emerging citizenship of food' (Jensen 2004) in which traditionally thought of mundane domestic habits are now 'ethicalised.' This is how individuals can make 'bigger acts' through being 'responsibilized.' As Fiona Allon writes of green home DIY, we are seeing the 'micropolitics of the household and the minuate of everyday behaviours' connected to civic responsibility (2011: 205), reinventing citizenship and patriotic duty (2011: 207). Through these ordinary everyday habits, one can become an ethical subject.
Summary of teleology for each educator
The desired subject-position of Ian is the spiritual grower who cares for his or her self and the cosmos. This is not simply an organic grower. They become stewards of the cosmos through growing food in special ways--for example, fertiliser mixes with bone, feathers and soil--which bring individual and environmental health. We note that various commentators would classify biodynamic agriculture as New Age and critique 'New Age' practices for reproducing a neo-liberal agenda of self-responsibilisation. There are clearly some aspects in this account which can be seen as self-responsibilisation, but there are complications: the bio-dynamic farmer-educator does not advocate the market as a solution and asserts that change in food growing and consumer practices might take up to twenty years, and can happen as much through serendipity as planning. There are particularities to the biodynamics philosophy in its configuration as a 'spiritual science' of biodynamics too which renders it more complex. Thus it postulates a more fluid, open body than often described in Foucauldian theorising (Gaynor 1998). In this way it also moves outside of traditional nutritional pedagogies. It imagines 'links between the dynamism of soils, plants and people, thus moving from the 'clinical nutrition' apprehension of the body as a complex collection of molecules, to an approach which considers bodies as sites of a dynamic activity which persist through various spatial-temporal processes' (Gaynor 1998: 19).
In the case of the Susan there is a more apparent link to neo-liberal 'self-care' governmentality agendas. The subject-position is the frugal, obedient migrant cooking woman who must care for her family's health through making meals according to the 'healthy messages' guidelines. She must cook according to calculated budgets and scientifically defined nutritional values. This teleology represents the quintessential neoliberal project of personalising social problems, and we might add, gendering and racialising social problems. This does not mean that there are not important benefits for the women in the food project Susan runs. Nor are we suggesting that Susan is unaware of the limitations of the approach. She clearly wanted to organise other more macro reforms but did not have the power or funding. Nevertheless, the subject position is of mothering health, and with health and food defined in narrow ways.
For Joan and Paul, the desired subject-position is the label-literate shopper who makes rational decisions on the basis of the provenance of food. The notion of label-literacy connects with a wider notion of consumer citizenship. Shopping-activism is much debated. Some food theorists have critiqued what they see as the neoliberal rationalities and subjectivities which undergird consumer-activism (Guthman 2007). This is because this teleology constructs the market as the place where politics gets done and privileges the 'choosing subject' (Guthman 2007). In this way, 'citizenship [is] manifested through the free exercise of personal choice ... new relations [have been formed] between the economic health of the nation and the 'private' choices of individuals ... the citizen [is] assigned a vital economic role in his or her activity as a consumer' (Miller and Rose 2008: 48-49). More recently food theorists have argued that neo-liberal governmentality does not mop up all ways of being and acting (Dowling 2010). For example, Robyn Dowling argues that it is possible to 'go beyond governmentality' to exceed these subject positions or create alternatives.
In contrast to the idea of educational aims, the notion of teleology ups the stakes with its focus on 'forms of life' and their links to wider governmental projects. In the case of the bio-dynamic farmer-educator, health educator and alternative farmers discussed in this paper, we can see an emphasis being placed on 'forms of life' where individuals must take responsibility for the food they grow, eat and shop. For our activists, good citizenship is being refracted through a lens of care: for self, family, cosmos, farmer and land. With the focus on the growing, shopping and cooking of food, these forms of life and their ethics are highly classed, racialised and gendered though. Class, gender and race are central to these forms of life as feminist food writers have argued. Importantly for adult educators, subject positions as forms of life are ways through which subjects are brought to life through technologies and knowledge, and especially self-knowledge. But they are also resisted and refused (see in this issue Pike and Leahy). In relation to the food activists, more research would need to be done on their learners and how these learners may reproduce, embrace, or perhaps half-heartedly or intermittently inhabit these forms of life, and reject the teleologies being set out before them.
In this paper, we have examined the ways in which three types of food activist-educators construct food, health, learners and pedagogies using Rose's framework of problematisations, authorities, technologies and teleologies. We have argued that this framework enables us to do two things: first, to open up the politics of adult education pedagogies through a different model of power; and secondly, to expand our understanding of food activist pedagogies. In short, we can see that the three types of activists cannot be easily categorised in any one school of thought, be it humanist, behaviourist, radical or progressive. Even heuristically, these concepts, unlike problematisation, flatten the complexity of how food and health become analysed and treated in pedagogies. Looking at authority relations rather than the role of the teacher gets at the ways in which educators legitimate what they do in terms of doing good. The focus on technologies brings new pedagogues to the fore; for example, it would be quite unusual to discuss labels as pedagogical within more traditional models. Rose's framework enables us to think about the ways in which adult educators, regardless of so-called 'school of thought' are vehicles of power in mobilising technologies of self and domination. Finally, by emphasising teleologies rather than aims, we can get at the ways these pedagogies produce types of selves and types of ethical habits.
Of course we do not know how these pedagogies are received by the target learners and the extent to which learners accept, refuse, and take up subject positions either apathetically or compliantly. Moreover, research is needed on food pedagogies to identify what 'substance' gets 'capacitated': habits, skills, identities, emotions, senses, knowledge (Flowers & Swan 2013).
Furthermore, Rose's framework challenges the claims to ethicalisation in adult education. Thus it provides us with a means to examine adult education approaches and their terms and conditions of 'doing good.' Rose's framework describes processes which bring subjects, identities, knowledges, and truths into being: they are not simply pre-formed. They also bring political and ethical subjects into being (King, S. 2003). We have seen some of the ethical work that the 'learners' need to do according to our food activist educators. Through what knowledges and truths do food activist educators make their work 'ethical'? Through what knowledges and truths do we as adult educators make our work 'ethical'? To produce our selves into political and ethical subjects what 'substance' do we have to work on? What is the prime material of our claims to being doing good (King, L. 2003; King, S. 2003)? For Rose, these questions would need to be answered in relation to specific, concrete practices as power is not general and abstract but located and technical.
Across the accounts of the food activists there is a multiplicity of educational sources, aims and targets of intervention. One way to understand this is to draw inspiration from Rose's notion of the 'psy-complex' which is an umbrella term that refers to the expanding architecture of psychological expertise and techniques in contemporary culture. The term complex is used to indicate a hybrid assemblage of knowledges which may be contradictory but have a family resemblance in how they understand problems and solutions. In the same vein, we can see the contours of what we might call 'the food-knowledges complex' across a range of food pedagogies, including food activist educators. In the food-knowledges complex, there is a congeries of ideas, ideals and practices. Whilst invoked, psy knowledges are much less important than 'health' knowledges of which 'healthism' is the most salient. As with Rose's idea of the 'psy complex,' even though there is a diversity of views about what health is (ontology) and what constitutes good health (knowledges), there is a dominant view of health that gets propagated, and this is used to undergird claims to be doing good. In this idea of the 'food-knowledge complex' we can see how problematisations, authorities, technologies and teleologies are gendered, class and racialised and constitute gender, class and race. In the psy-complex experts claim to help us with what Rose (1996) calls 'problems of living'; in the food-knowledges complex, experts claim to help us with 'problems of eating'.
Different problematizations, technologies, authorities and teleologies constitute food, health and bodies in various ways whilst at the same time promoting, in this case, healthism. To argue this, is to say more than there are various constructions being invoked in food activist pedagogies: it is to suggest that food and health are activated by activists in ontologically distinct ways across their pedagogies. This is because pedagogies are performative and reproduce what Rose calls 'forms of life.' The pedagogies bring objects and kinds of humans to life. In so doing, they can also bring types of lives to humans. Across the food activist pedagogies, food becomes seen as spiritual, a medicine, a choice, a responsibility and health expands to cover the environment, spiritual connection, family health, agricultural health, farmer's economic health. For the educators, to get at the 'health in food' requires different activities and processes: food needs to be grown, cooked, and shopped for in particular ways. What food and health, then, are 'really like' and 'should be like' is contested (Jacobsen 2004).
To understand this we draw on Mol's (2002) notion of the 'body-multiple': a concept she uses to show how patients' bodies have quite different ontological realities according to which medical practice they are participating in. This is to argue that the body is not singular but multiple, and enacted in varied and even incommensurable, situated medical practices. Objects are multiple; and reality open (Jacobsen, 2004). In similar vein, John Law and Marianne Lien (2012) examine how salmon become a very different type of ontological object across different 'salmon-reality' practices from the biologist writing a textbook on salmon to salmon farmers in Norway catching salmon. Thus in examining the 'food-knowledges complex,' it may be helpful to identify how what we could call 'food-multiple' and 'health-multiple' constitute not only food and health as different objects, but also how they make race, class and gender. Rose's framework helps us understand that what we see as problems and solutions as educators are not self-evident nor equally distributed by race, gender and class. One way to think about 'doing good' then in food pedagogies is as 'ontological politics' (Mol 1999): the ways in which debates and struggles need to be had over which food, pedagogical and health realities to enact (Bacchi 2012; Jensen 2004).
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We would like to thank Faculty of Arts and Social Science and the Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney for funding this research and Stephen Fox, Queen Mary College London University for helpful comments on our draft work.
Rick Flowers and Elaine Swan
University of Technology, Sydney
Rick Flowers has been Head of Adult Education and Postgraduate Programs in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) since 2008. Rick was Director of the Centre for Popular Education at the University of Technology, Sydney from 1999 to 2007. The Centre for Popular Education undertook research in environmental education and advocacy, community cultural development, health education and community development, the pedagogy and politics of working with young people, union and community organising, and community leadership. Rick has been undertaking research with Elaine Swan about food pedagogies for just under two years. This has included papers about activist films, food practices in mixed-race families, and empirical research in southwestern Sydney about culinary ethnicism in a project led by a food social enterprise. They have an edited book with the title 'Food Pedagogies' coming out in 2013.
Elaine Swan is Head of Communication Studies in Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Recent papers examines processes of whiteness: Swan (2010) looks at the active labour of ignorance, audit culture and white masculinity in UK universities; Swan (2009) focuses on the visual image of the mosaic, a well worn cliche of diversity management to explore the ideal of whiteness in race making; Swan (2011) examines whiteness and the figure of the career woman in relation to dirty work in women's magazines. She has published two books: Worked up Selves which looks at the interface between therapeutic pedagogies and the workplace, and Diversity in Management with Caroline Gatrell.
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
Email: Rick.Flowers@uts.edu.au and Elaine.Swan@uts.edu.au
Table 1 School of Aims of adult Role of teacher Teaching thought education and learner methods Cultivation of Fill learners Teacher is in Mainly lecture the intellect with control and (traditional worthwhile learner is school) knowledge passive Individual Self-direction Teacher Experiential self- and self- facilitates and methods actualisation fulfilment students decide (humanist) what to learn Progressives Active Teacher and Problem solving (reformist) individual student learn and negotiated citizenship from each learning to strengthen other democracy Social Create new Co-creation of Participatory transformation social and curriculum action research (revolutionary) political and dialogical order learning Organisational Develop skills Trainers Outcomes effectiveness and attitudes transmit are assessed to enable information and in terms of achievement of deliver objectives prescribed prescribed achieved goals curriculum Source: adapted from Foley 2000, in turn adapted from Scott 1985 and Darkenwald & Merriam 1982: 14-15. Table 2 Traditional Pathways derived categories from Rose from Foley school of problematisation thought teaching technologies methods role of authorities teacher and learner aims teleologies
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|Author:||Flowers, Rick; Swan, Elaine|
|Publication:||Australian Journal of Adult Learning|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2012|
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