This paper employs Foucauldian theory to consider Islamic boarding school experiences in Indonesia. For some pupils 'the spirit of education' - a dimension of pleasure - comes to be highly valued, creating a lifelong passion for the pursuit of knowledge. Two school principals (both pesantren [Islamic boarding school] graduates themselves) articulated strong commitment to the 'spirit of education'. Yet their respective boarding schools were very poor, not only by western standards but compared with Indonesian public schools, and conditions were austere. The embodiment of pesantren discourse as high academic achievement is illustrated by the example of Khadija - a young female pesantren graduate now studying at doctoral level in the United Kingdom. Explaining the embodied production of the 'spirit of education' demands looking at charismatic pedagogy, strict rules, austere conditions and sparse provision of learning resources as regimes of truth and power-knowledge relations that inhere in pesantren as lived experiences of pupils.
British Journal of Sociology of Education Vol. 30, Issue 2, p. 219-232