Foucault News

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

Postcolonial Governmentalities. Rationalities, Violences and Contestations
Edited by Terri-Anne Teo and Elisa Wynne-Hughes, Rowman & Littlefield, 2020

This edited volume asks how governmentality and postcolonial approaches can be brought together to help us better understand specific sites and practices of contemporary postcolonial governance. The framework/approach was inspired by the recent use of governmentality approaches that emphasize how governance functions not solely through states but through multiple tactics and means that regulate the conduct of individuals and institutions through both freedom and constraint.

A postcolonial approach to governance exposes the role of postcolonial sites and practices in shaping governance and the inequalities embedded within it, insofar as standards of conduct determine which subjects are privileged and excluded.Postcolonial perspectives show how governance can be both productive and repressive, functioning to impose a fixed code of conduct that objectifies (gendered, racialized, sexualized) ‘others’ as part of its project of improvement. In discussing governance, we must also consider how power is negotiated and challenged through forms of resistance and counter-conduct.

This volume argues that we need to incorporate postcolonial theories and carefully examine postcolonial practices and sites, to understand how contemporary governance shapes various transnational inequalities and social divisions. The authors in this edited volume illustrate the value of postcolonial governance as a conceptual framework through empirical examples from Asia, Australia, Africa, and Europe. These cases unpack practices of governance operating within complex political landscapes.

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