By Majia Holmer Nadesan (auth.)
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Additional info for Governing Childhood into the 21st Century: Biopolitical Technologies of Childhood Management and Education
Sanitary reform began in England in the 1830s in response to the urban diseases and crowding brought upon by industrialization. Richard A. Meckel argues that sanitarians took a middle road between (1) social conservatives who viewed urban disease and poverty as stemming from moral degeneration caused by the “civilized” temptations offered by city life to simple migrants and (2) economic radicals who viewed urban disease as stemming from industrial exploitation (14–15). The sanitarians mediated these positions by offering an explanation of urban poverty and illness stressing environment (but not industry) and hygiene (15).
Mothers played a vital role in adopting and executing these new security technologies. One primary way that expert authority informed mothers’ child rearing was through medical expertise. A growing body of medical expertise informed mothers how to feed and care for their infants. Sanitary practices would play a particularly significant role in shaping nineteenth-century bourgeois motherhood. By the mid-nineteenth century, women were instructed by sanitary authorities in household sanitary practices designed to create boundaries between contaminated external spaces and internal pure spaces (Tomes 1–368).
Locke observes in Some Thoughts Concerning Education that child rearing often fails to make the “Mind” “obedient to Discipline and pliant to Reason” (75). Locke represents the development of reason in childhood as necessary for the self-government of “Appetites” in adulthood. Rousseau’s texts emphasize the role of pedagogy in developing the capacities of self-government. Accordingly, he advises the tutor: “Let your pupil always believe that he is the master, but in fact be the master yourself. No other subjection is so complete as that which keeps up the pretense of freedom; in such a way one can even imprison the will” (cited in E.