Centre de Recherches Politiques de Sciences Po (CEVIPOF), Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (Sciences Po), Paris
The article focuses on the courses given by Foucault at the Collège de France on political governmentality (1976-1979), before he turned in 1980 to the question of the “government of the Self” and the “courage of truth”. It does not attempt a detailed reconstruction, but discusses some central themes which would make it possible to further develop the Foucauldian heritage, but also to show some of that heritage’s limitations.
Section I offers a sympathetic discussion of Foucault’s analysis of “power”, the question of practices, “counter-conducts” and “population”. In a more critical vein, section II argues for moving away from the categories of “biopolitics” and “liberal governmentality”. It questions Foucault’s view of “socialist governmentality” as deficient, traces his methodological anti- legalism to its dead end, and seeks a more concrete historical anchoring of the question of political legitimacy and consent.
Governmentality – Power – Biopolitics – Legitimacy – Historicism