Foucault News

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

Ramírez-García, V. The Administration of Desire: Governmentality and Sexual Politics in Mexico’s Demographic Shift of the 1970s. Sexuality Research and Social Policy volume 17, pp. 741–752 (2020).
Open access


In 1974 Mexico adopted a new Population Act which marked a turning point in its policies of migration, fertility and education; this new legislation embraced population as a set of collective regularities ruled by intelligible laws which the state was impelled to administer.
Cabinet research in historical archives of 292 documents from the National Population Council in Mexico, published during the first decade of its formulation and implementation (1974-1984).
Mexican demographic shift of the 1970s shows the emergence of a new rationality of power and knowledge through the consolidation of governmentality as a complex network of practices and discourses, mostly in the fields of education and health.
There was an effort to reshape the subjectivity of individuals through the incitement and stimulation of a new political rationality, that of governmentality, embracing responsibility vis-à-vis the ‘sexual reproduction function’, a function which was attached to the reproduction of social structures like marriage and family.
Policy Implications
I argue that this particular case can contribute to the study of similar political and epistemic tendencies in other contexts, especially on the analysis of the intersection between family planning and sex education policies.

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