Governing the future
Children’s health and biosocial power
in Reframing health and health policy in Ireland
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This chapter examines the writings of Jean Jacques Rousseau. It focuses on how his critical social theory and his normative political theory meet as a conception of childhood that would come into sharper focus during the nineteenth century. The chapter also examines reformatory education and public hygiene, focusing on how the public health strategies were developed and deployed in Ireland. Both in terms of design and strategic objective, the penal reformatory school exemplified biosocial power in that it was deployed as a social technology to refashion life that had been deformed by social circumstances. The chapter looks at how the 'biosocial' apparatus has recently been reconfigured through a policy framework called Healthy Ireland, the purpose of which is to 'reduce health inequalities' by 'empowering people and communities'. It also looks at how the prescriptive thrust of Emile was made practical through a pedagogical form of philanthropy.

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