Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
I argue that John Locke's epistemology leads him to an understanding of the subject as highly malleable, and that his writings on education are best understood as a response to this. In my account, Locke's educational program is an early manifestation of what Michel Foucault would later identify as "discipline," those institutional practices that work subtly and unceasingly to normalize subjects. Locke's goal in Some Thoughts Concerning in the Education is the creation of a subject that internalizes certain moral norms and thus allows for the possibility of liberal government. The proto-liberal institutions that he is famous for developing are predicated upon the shaping of subjects into this form; Locke's subjects are non-autonomous constructs of power that regulate themselves on the basis of habit and implicit belief. I argue that the program of child-rearing Locke envisions represents an embryonic form of the kind of power that dominates modern life.
Rayner, Mason H., "John Locke and the Creation of Liberal Subjects" (2013). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 570.
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