Foucault News

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

Busse, J.
Theorizing Governance as Globalized Governmentality: The Dynamics of World-Societal Order in Palestine
(2015) Middle East Critique, 29 p. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/19436149.2015.1010338

In many cases, Middle East Studies and International Relations (IR) fail to provide an appropriate account of governance and power and the underlying dynamics of global political order. In order to overcome these shortcomings, I will highlight the conceptual compatibility between Foucauldian post-structuralist governmentality studies and world society theorization from the perspective of the Stanford School’s sociological neo-institutionalism. On this basis, I will conceptualize governmentality as a globally diffused pattern of political ordering in world society. This global diffusion of governmentality, however, cannot be equated with global homogenization, because decoupling dynamics can lead to significant differences between a global norm and how it is translated into a local context. Hence, governmentality denotes a specific, universalistic configuration of governmental rationalities and technologies but also takes into account localizations of diversity. I will identify biopower, surveillance, and technologies of the self as core dimensions of modern governmentality and analyze their contribution to the establishment of political order in Palestine. In this sense, the examples of modern statistics, good governance, and refugee camp governance not only serve as empirical illustrations for the materialization of modern governmentality in Palestine. They also underline the embeddedness of Palestine into the structural horizon of world society. As a result, political order that comes into existence in Palestine needs to be understood as world-societal order.

Author Keywords
Biopower; Foucault; global governmentality; governmentality; International Relations Theory; Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Palestine; political order; power; world society

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