Foucault News

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

Ghatak, S., Abel, A.S. Power/Faith: Governmentality, Religion, and Post-Secular Societies (2013) International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, 26 (3), pp. 217-235.

Further info

Foucault’s concept of governmentality, and its attending modalities of biopower and disciplinary technologies, provides a useful conceptual schema for the analysis of the role of religious and quasi-religious institutions in contemporary society. This is particularly important in the study of those neoliberal democratic states where religious organizations constitute an important presence in the civil society. As religion is thoroughly involved in the reproduction of social structure in most societies, an appraisal of the social and political importance of religious institutions is needed to understand the articulation and exercise of governmentality. This is not just limited to partnerships between state agencies and faith-based organizations in providing for social services, but also in rituals and other religious group activities of these organizations that play a vital role in shaping and molding the social and political subjectivities of the adherents. We argue that synergy between the scholarship on governmentality, and sociology of religion would allow for a more nuanced understanding of the politics and culture of post-secular societies.

Author Keywords
Civil society; Faith-based initiatives; Foucault; Governmentality; Post-secularism; Religion; Rituals

DOI: 10.1007/s10767-013-9141-z

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