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Studies on Governmentality: Six Epistemological Pitfalls
University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. (Individ och samhälle (VIDSOC), Individual and Society)
2017 (English)In: Sotsiologicheskoe Obozrenie, ISSN 1728-192Х, Vol. 16, no 2, 9-28 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The notion of governmentality, developed in the works of Michel Foucault, is actively employed across academic disciplines. Reviewing the secondary literature, this paper specifies and systematizes some particularities of Foucault's theoretical account which are reflected in contemporary studies on governmentality. Six latent epistemological obstacles in research on governmentality are described-the essentialization of power; the impossibility of agency and counteraction; latent idealism; the inconsistent presentation of governmentality; the shortage of explanatory perspective on the micro-macro linkage; and a vanishing critical standpoint-to stimulate an academic discussion on possible methodological insights capable of overcoming some of those difficulties. Those limitations are seen to be immanent in Foucault's overall theoretical account rather than the effects of deviation from it. Examples of studies associated with the fields of international relations and sociology support the central arguments of the paper. As demonstrated, the regrounding of a Foucault-inspired analysis of power in the updated version of historical materialism might have the potential to ensure rigor in governmentality research and redefine its critical intent. Further, a consensus is needed on the fundamental notions of governmentality studies to stabilize the research agenda. Recognizing the importance of Foucault's overall contribution to the understanding of contemporary phenomena and practices, scholars need to acknowledge its conceptual and social limitations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 16, no 2, 9-28 p.
Keyword [en]
Foucault, power, resistance, Marxism, biopolitics, idealism, discourse analysis
Research subject
Individual and Society VIDSOC
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-14266DOI: 10.17323/1728-192X-2017-2-9-28ISI: 000412401300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85021715105OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-14266DiVA: diva2:1153166
Note

Alternativ tidskriftstitel: Russian Sociological Review

Available from: 2017-10-27 Created: 2017-10-27 Last updated: 2017-11-15

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
  • rtf