Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Oels, A.(2013), Rendering climate change governable by risk: From probability to contingency Geoforum, 45, pp. 17-29.

Further info

In this paper, I use Foucault’s concept of governmentality to investigate changes in the risk management of climate change. In an exploratory analysis of primary and secondary sources, I demonstrate that the risk construction of climate change has shifted significantly from 1988 to 2010. Risk construction has broadened, and related policies now include mitigation, adaptation and disaster preparedness. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the meaning of ‘security’ and the related modes of risk management have shifted over time. I show that traditional science-based risk management has been dominant in mitigation and adaptation policy. The articulation of climate change as a security issue since 2003 indicates risk management through contingency. I argue that what the Copenhagen School has studied as the ‘failed securitization’ of climate change and a lack of extraordinary measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions are better understood as the ‘climatization’ of security. The governmental rationale since 2007 has been to prepare for and manage the ‘inevitable’ primary and secondary impacts of unmitigated climate change.

Author Keywords
Climate;  Foucault;  Governmentality;  Risk;  Securitization;  Security

Index Keywords
carbon emission, climate change, contingent valuation, greenhouse effect, greenhouse gas, hazard management, policy analysis, probability, risk assessment

DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2011.09.007

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