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Rethinking Governmentality: Towards Genealogies of Governance

Abstract

Foucault introduced the concept “governmentality” to refer to the conduct of conduct, and the technologies that govern individuals. While he adopted the concept after his shift from archaeological to genealogical studies, commentators argue his work on governmentality and that of his followers appears to remain entangled with structuralist themes more redolent of his archaeologies. This paper thus offers a type of conceptual clarification. The paper provides a resolutely genealogical approach to govermentality that: echoes Foucault on genealogy, power/knowledge, and technologies of power; suggests ways of resolving problems in Foucault’s work; introduces concepts that are clearly historicist, not structuralist; and opens new areas of empirical research.

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