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Power, Security and Modern life - Essay Example

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POWER, SECURITY AND MODERN LIFE By Lecturer: Institution of Affiliation: City and State: Date: Power, Security and Modern Life The Main Features of Foucault's Account of 'Governmentality’ The concept of governmentality was first established by a French historian and social philosopher known as Michel Foucault (Bratich, Packer and McCarthy, 2003, p…
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Power, Security and Modern life
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Power, Security and Modern life

Download file to see previous pages... Foucault defined governmentality as the art of government in a wide sense such as the idea of government, which is not limited to state politics alone but include a variety of control techniques, as well as, applies a variety of objects from one’s control of self to political control of citizens. The studies in governmentality constitute a growing body of work but this work cannot be characterised as unitary. The field of governmentality does not seek to apply the political concept and social phenomena, but questions the very limits of, and features of governmentality (Dean, 2009, p. 57). Quite number of emerging literature about governmentality studies have already matured to the point where clear differences in position are beginning to be drawn. This paper attempts to offer the main features of Foucault’s account of governmentality. Foucault characterizes governmentality as the art of power and this is revealed in his analytical theoretical account of power. The theories of Foucault mostly concentrated on the connection between power and knowledge and the way they are used as a form of social control through community structure (Foucault, Burchell, Gordon and Miller, 1991, p. 56). In his middle age of work, Foucault kept repeatedly framing his work as an examination of the relations between knowledge, power and human subject. Foucault is often seen as having generated a new theory of power but most of his theories are puzzling (Hindess, 1996, p. 65). For example, Foucault proclaimed that power is everywhere and but on the same time, he argued that such power does not exist despite spending most of his time analyzing the phenomenon. The characters of Foucault on the power theory can essentially offer some captivating points of departure for conceptualisation of participation (Foucault, 1980, 42). The views of Foucault about power have been somewhat overlooked but this part has the potential to offer a subtle and insightful perspective in a wider social structure. Most commentators of Foucault’s theory of power characterize this power as the form of self-government, structuring and shaping the field of possible action to subjects. The power concept as a guidance does not exclude consensual forms or the recourse to violence but it signifies the coercion or consensus, which are reformulated as means of government among others (Foucault et-al, 1991, p. 87), and as a result, the governmentality concept represents a theoretical move beyond the problematic of consensus; therefore, this power does not sought or struggle or cause brutality but rather sought the singular mode of achievement, which is government. According to Bratich, Packer and McCarthy (2003, p. 45), the work of Foucault does not involve theorizations of power based upon a series of historical interrogations; this it is difficult to offer historical account on the way Foucault theorises power. This is because Foucault strongly rejects that the idea that human and social phenomena have significant, unchanging essences; thus he resist defining power in a metaphysical ways arguing that power is assumed to exist universally in a concentrated or diffuse form. According to the Foucault, power exist only when it is put into action; thus he emphasises that power is not a foundation, a structure nor it is not a certain strength but a name, which one attributes to a multifaceted strategic circumstances in a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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