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This article was downloaded by: [Erasmus University] On: 23 September 2014, At: 08:53 Publisher: Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Cultural Values Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rcuv19 Powers of Life and Death Beyond Governmentality Mitchell Dean Published online: 09 Nov 2010. To cite t
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  This article was downloaded by: [Erasmus University]On: 23 September 2014, At: 08:53Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Cultural Values Publication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rcuv19 Powers of Life and Death BeyondGovernmentality Mitchell DeanPublished online: 09 Nov 2010. To cite this article:  Mitchell Dean (2002) Powers of Life and Death Beyond Governmentality, CulturalValues, 6:1-2, 119-138, DOI: 10.1080/1362517022019775 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1362517022019775 PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the “Content”) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arisingout of the use of the Content.This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions    ISSN 1362-5179 Print/ISSN 1467-8713 online/02/010119-20 ©  2002 Taylor & Francis LtdDOI: 10.1080/1362517022019775 Cultural Values, Vol. 6, Nos. 1 & 2, 2002, 119±138 Powers of Life and Death BeyondGovernmentality 1  Mitchell Dean Abstract The work of Foucault on liberal government, and that of his followers, is subject to twodangers. The first is to regard the critical character of liberalism (as governing through freedom) as providing safeguards against the despotic potentials of biopower andsovereignty. The second is to regard these heterogenous powers of life and death assomehow simply relocated or reinscribed within the field of liberal governmentality. Thelatter point is a major methodological error; the former closes the gap between theanalytics of government and the normativity of liberalism itself. By working through thesedangers, our understanding of the ethos of liberal government is transformed. That ethostoday requires us to link governing through freedom to the powers of life and death, theexercise of choice to the sovereign decision, the contract to violence, economic citizenshipto moral discipline and obligation, and rights and liberties to enforcement. Of all the themes concerning power in the work of Michel Foucault, thetheme of governmentality would appear to have given rise to the most sustained body of empirical political and social analysis, not only in France but also inseveral other countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom. 2 Heconceives government as the ªconduct of conductº. Conduct is used here as anoun and a verb. As a verb, to conduct means to lead, to guide, and to direct. Asa noun, conduct equals roughly behavior, action, comportment, or the embodiedrepertoire of that which sociologists call ªhabitus’. 3 Government is given the very broad definition of shaping the way we act. This notion of government wouldappear to give rise to several possibilities.It opens up the possibility of a disclosure of the different forms of knowledgeand truth by which various agents have come to call into question and to act uponthe conduct of others, or indeed of themselves, for assorted ends. This is the studyof the problematizations, the programs and, above all, the rationalities of government. In the following, I shall be referring principally to one kind of rationality, that which is concerned with the  government of the state . This is thesense in which Foucault (1981, 1991a, 1997a, 1997b) himself appeared to use theterm ªgovernmentalityº in his famous lecture of the same name. Rationality is notused here in a normative sense, as in the Frankfurt School, i.e. as an ideal of Reason. It is used to refer to how we actually reason, the RealrationalitÈat (Flyvberg1998), in this case about governing the state.The study of government further leads us to an investigation of the means,techniques and instruments by which these ends of government are to be realized.This is a study of the technologies of government. Government is hence a practical    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   E  r  a  s  m  u  s   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y   ]  a   t   0   8  :   5   3   2   3   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4  120M. Dean and technical domain not reducible to philosophy or ideology. It also enables us toexamine the kinds of individual and collective identity, and forms of subjectivityand agency, which are ªconstructedº by these rationalities and technologies of government. These identities are a component of the ethos of government, of theworld which is sought, of the utopia to be won or dystopia to be avoided, of thekind of beings we hope to become and to create, of what we wish to combat oravoid, and of the material we seek to work upon. To summarize, we might talkabout the episteme , the techne , and the ethos of government.All this is a part of kind of ªthickº description of aspects of government. Butthere is also the possibility of another, critical side to these analyses. This is thepoint at which analysis reveals points of disjunction between the more or lessexplicit rationalities of government, both in their theoretical and their pro-gramatic forms, and what we might call the logic or intelligibility of practices, oreven their strategy. To put this another way, these analyses reveal the immanentdisjunction and dissonance between the ªprogrammer’s viewº and the logic of practices, their effects in the real (Foucault 1991b; Dean 1998: 193±4; Dean 1999:69±70; Gordon 1980: 246±51). The domain of effects in the real cannot be read off the programs of government themselves. Explicit theoretical and programaticrationality thus enters practices and may be deciphered within them, but it neverexhausts them. Barbara Cruikshank’s (1999) work on empowerment is a case inpoint. The programatic rationality of empowerment views the world asdichotomized into the powerful and powerless, and claims to be an externalmeans of effecting a quantitative increase in the power of the latter. The effects of practices of empowerment are quite different: they entail technologies which seekto qualitatively transform subjectivity; they deploy and extend powers of self-government; and they exist within a specific set of relations of power betweenvarious agents (bureaucrats, activists, politicians, the poor). To show thatrationalities of empowerment exist within this wider field of effects is to have thecritical consequence of calling into question the very logic and ethos of notions of empowerment themselves. This disjunction between programatic rationality andthe logic of governmental practices is crucial to my present argument.The literature on governmentality is thus not simply about philosophies,mentalities or theories: it is about practices, regimes and effects. Contrary torecent arguments (Dupont and Pearce 2001), an analytics of government does notclaim that the intelligibility of political and social practices can be read off thewritings of governors, policy writers and advisors. When applied to thecontemporary government of the state, as we shall do here, it concerns not simplyliberalism but also liberal ways of governing. It concerns, in this case, a theory of limited government underpinned by a moral philosophy of freedom and rightsand the singular logics of liberal modes of government (Dean 1991: 13).As a way of thinking that is one part empirical possibility and the other criticalpotential, the literature on ªgovernmentalityº would always have danger of  becoming empirically top heavy and being accused of normative deficiencies. Weall know it has become almost an academic industry in the English-speakingworld. But can it retain its critical potential? And can it define what that potentialis? 4 This paper contributes to answering these questions. It does so not byadvocating a normative standpoint but by suggesting why it is a mistake toconflate the liberal theory or conception of the state with modalities of the liberalgovernment of the state.    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   E  r  a  s  m  u  s   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y   ]  a   t   0   8  :   5   3   2   3   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4  Life and Death Beyond Governmentality121 In the context of the emergence and coming to prominence of ªneo-liberalºÐorsmall state conservativeÐapproaches to the government of the state, much of thisliterature has focused on liberal techniques and rationalities of government (e.g.Barry et al . 1996). It has thus emphasized indirect forms of government. Thosemutations in our techniques and rationalities of governing have made thecontriving and shaping of freedom into a means of achieving governmentalobjectives. Government is characterized as facilitative and preventive rather thandirective and distributive.In this respect, the notion of government comes to be viewed as exemplifyinga key feature of power in general which Foucault sought to stress after 1976, itsoperation through freedom (1988; Dean 2001). For these analytics of contempo-rary government, Foucault’s characterizations of power (1982) as ªa structure of actions upon the actions of othersº is nowhere better exemplified than incontemporary forms of liberal rule. These forms of rule activate what NikolasRose (1999) has succinctly called, in the title of his recent book, ªpowers of freedomº.Neither Foucault, nor this ensuing literature, however, would wish to reducethe entire field of power and rule to the issue of governing as ªconductingconductº or the ªliberal governing through freedomº, or even ªaction upon theaction of othersº. Foucault’s concepts of government were situated in a muchmore complex topography of rule. His work attempts to locate governmentwithin a general conceptual terrain of power and domination (Hindess 1996). Italso locates government as a singular historical formation on a field traversed byzones of power relations covered by ªsovereigntyº, ªbiopoliticsº, ªpastoralpowerº, ªdisciplineº and the like (Dean 1999, 2001). The latter set of conceptsgives names to fields, zones or clusters of power relations within the historicaltrajectory of particular societies, most prominently those that call themselvesªWesternº and those whose political culture has been formed in colonial andpostcolonial interaction with these societies.Indeed, in one of his best-known lectures on ªpolitical rationalityº, Foucaultargues (1981) that modern states have the potential to become ªreally demonicº.They do this because they contain elements of political power derived from whathe calls ªthe city-citizenº game with those of a pastoral care of life and the livingfound within the ªshepherd-flockº game. What is dangerous about the states of the twentieth century, according to this statement, is the way in which theycombine, articulate or reinscribe aspects of two trajectories of rule sourced fromthe Hebraic and the Greek parts of Western political traditions. These are thepowers of a self-governing political community, latter modulated through adeductive sovereign right of death, and the productive biopolitical powers of lifeand the living. Foucault himself returned to the theme of the emergence of apolitics of life and death several times, particularly where he sought to discussstate racism, national and state socialism, the Holocaust, genocide, and thedevelopment of total war. ªMassacres have become vitalº he wrote (Foucault1979: 137).If what is dangerous about certain states is the way in which they combine formsand discourses of rule, it follows that there might be less dangerous, or even benign,combinations of these discourses and practices of rule in other states. In thiscontext, consider the discussion of liberalism by Foucault. It is interesting thatwhen he turned to that discussion, it was in a lecture course called ªThe Birth of     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   E  r  a  s  m  u  s   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y   ]  a   t   0   8  :   5   3   2   3   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4
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