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The Importance of the Discussion about the Notion of Subject: Foucault, Sartre, Merleau-PontyI I - This study was supported by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (Fapesp), Process n. 2014/17192-2. To Fernando L. Gonzáles Rey.


Initially, we emphasize the importance of the discussion of the notion of subject for education, building on the phenomenon of child bodily education and the thought of Michel Foucault. Then, we engage the discussion from the definition of subject as the active pole of the individual in its possibilities of world configuration and its relationships with others and things. We start from this idea because the notion of activity seems central to us in any conception of subject. Even the meaning of subjected subject presupposes in such a subject an active principle that subjects to another or to a certain world situation, without which the term would not even make sense. Our goal is to introduce variations of meaning around this definition in order to inscribe it into a wider, more intricate frame of subjectivation. We try to achieve this, firstly, based on the analysis of an event in the process of school adaptation of a two-and-a-half-year-old child, and, later, through the conceptual contributions of Merleau-Ponty’s thought in points of contrast with the thoughts of Foucault and Sartre. We highlight the notions of flesh, perceptual ground, and implication or intertwining of bodies and subjects, which impose on us a new understanding of the subjective or social being. We conclude that the subject’s activity is inseparable from its passivities and relations with others - relations in which it is impossible to know exactly where the meaning (sens) of the other ends and the meaning of the subject itself begins.

Subject; Subjectivation; Merleau-Ponty; Michel Foucault; Sartre

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