Caught napping: Images of surveillance, discipline and punishment on the body of the schoolchild

Eric Margolis, Sheila Fram

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The authors' research is concerned with the use of visual imagery as data to examine schools and schooling. In attempting to develop knowledge further by incorporating the visual in educational research, they draw on a hybrid mix of disciplines including sociology, ethnography, history and the humanities. Many scholars and historians writing about the history of education emphasize written texts (e.g. formal curricula, school board minutes); photographers and visual artists depict the physical arrangements, postures and facial expressions of bodies within socially constructed spaces. Currently, some historians are attempting to open up new methodologies and theoretical perspectives for the inclusion of images as data, while others remain ambivalent about the legitimacy of visual data of educational history. In this article, the authors discuss images of three lessons that the body is subjected to as essential elements of schooling: surveillance, discipline and punishment. They argue for the usefulness of the visual as data informing historical and sociological imaginations and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-211
Number of pages21
JournalHistory of Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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