Normalizing Foucault? A Rhizomatic Approach to Plateaus in Anglophone Educational Research

  • Bernadette Baker University of Wisconsin


This paper offers a rhizomatic reading of Foucault scholarship in anglophone educational research. It delineates unique parameters of an educational field, the conditions of receptivity for Foucault's work, and identifies three temporary plateau-formations that have erupted in educational research. Indebted to (non-formulaic) principles of connectivity and heterogeneity, multiplicity, and asignifying ruptures the analysis brings to notice the recombinatorial attributes of the discipline of education through attention to what is encamped and what seeps in debates over his work.

Author Biography

Bernadette Baker, University of Wisconsin
Bernadette Baker is a Professor in the School of Education, the Center for Global Studies, and the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies at the University of Wisconsin. After her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Wisconsin and Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Queensland she published In Perpetual Motion: Theories of Power, Educational History, and the Child (Peter Lang), which was awarded an American Educational Research Association Outstanding Book Award in 2005. In 2000 and 2001 she organized and directed two International Foucault and Education conferences in the United States. She has also edited with Katy Heyning Dangerous Coagulations? The Uses of Foucault in the Study of Education (Peter Lang), a compilation of presentations from those events. Her previous research has examined shifting analytics of power in popular political philosophies, inscriptions of the child in canonical rearing-education texts, and conceptions of change and education from Plato through to Foucault. She has published widely in educational philosophy, educational history, and curriculum studies journals and is currently completing a monograph on 'le magn├ętisme animal' and the separation of sciences in the US. In addition to continental philosophy, her current research interests are postcolonial technoscience, comparative cosmology, disability studies, and history of the social sciences.