The force of habit: Channelling young bodies at alternative education spaces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
331 Downloads (Pure)


This paper develops a novel conceptual framework for examining the (re)formulation of habits in education spaces. It is based on the premise that education spaces are key sites for channelling and intervening in children’s habits, to various ends. The paper focuses on the ways educators at alternative education spaces in the United Kingdom seek to (re)formulate children’s habits. In some cases, they do so to combat social exclusion, dealing with some of the most vulnerable children in the UK’s educational system. Drawing on the habit-theories of Ravaisson and Dewey, and commensurate posthuman, more-than-social approaches to childhood, the paper proposes a two-fold conceptualisation of habit: as ‘(re)calibration’ and as ‘contagion’. The paper draws on empirical examples taken from ten years’ research across 59 alternative education spaces in the UK. Developing recent educational scholarship on bodies, emotions and affects, it develops an expanded, posthuman notion of ‘collective’ habits that might offer a conceptual language for challenging and imagining alternatives to the perceived problems of the neoliberal educational mainstream. However, the paper closes by posing some critical questions for further scholarship about why educators might specifically choose to intervene into children’s habits – not least in terms of inclusion and social justice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Studies in Education
Early online date28 Oct 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Oct 2015


  • affect
  • childhood
  • embodiment
  • emotion
  • geographies of education
  • inclusion
  • post-human theory


Dive into the research topics of 'The force of habit: Channelling young bodies at alternative education spaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this