Foucault News

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

Thörn, H.
Politics of responsibility: governing distant populations through civil society in Mozambique, Rwanda and South Africa
(2016) Third World Quarterly, 37 (8), pp. 1505-1523.

DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2015.1136207

Abstract
This article presents and analyses the findings of a research project on power relations in the context of development partnerships with civil society on HIV/AIDS in Mozambique, Rwanda and South Africa, and engages in a critical dialogue with governmentality analysis. It argues that contemporary neoliberal government needs to be understood as context-specific articulations of three forms of power discussed by Foucault – sovereignty, discipline and biopower – and, in the global domain, a fourth form of power – (new) imperialism. Further, the analysis demonstrates how the introduction of a ‘package of (de-)responsibilisation’ shapes CSOs’ activities so that they become competitive service providers, use evidence-based methods and produce measurable results. Addressing the issue of resistance, it shows how the transfer of responsibilities may involve tension and struggle – a politics of responsibility. © 2016 Southseries Inc., http://www.thirdworldquarterly.com.

Author Keywords
civil society; development partnerships; global governance; Global governmentality; international aid; sub-Saharan Africa

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