Kevin Ryan
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Childhood as a national asset
The medical and moral framing of ‘health’
in Refiguring childhood
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Chapter 6 presents a genealogy of reformatory education and public hygiene, focusing on how ‘health’ has come to traverse medical and moral conceptions of childhood, and how the figure of the healthy child – once configured as a ‘national asset’ – has since become a form of ‘capital investment’. Tracking this through the datafication of childhood, the core concern is how neoliberal enterprise culture has become a Procrustean bed, with biosocial power doing the work of fashioning life by empowering and supporting children in accordance with prescribed ‘outcomes’. The chapter concludes by taking up a critical perspective on the issue of obesity, examining the battle against childhood obesity as one of the ways in which neoliberal enterprise culture is immunised.

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Refiguring childhood

Encounters with biosocial power


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