Deconstructing the Dynamics of World-Societal Order: The Power of Governmentality in Palestine, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Deconstructing the Dynamics of World-Societal Order

The Power of Governmentality in Palestine, 1st Edition

By Jan Busse


212 pages

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To get a better sense of power dynamics in global politics, this book presents an innovative theoretical framework, combining a critical engagement with, and further development of, Michel Foucault’s governmentality on the one hand, and the theory of world society of the Stanford School of Sociology on the other.

Making an original contribution to academic debates about power and global political order, this book develops a comprehensive theoretical perspective on power relations and political dynamics. The book starts from the presupposition that any theoretical engagement of that kind requires nuanced empirical study as well. It therefore analyzes the dynamics of world-societal order in the concrete empirical example of Palestine, and raises the question of how its political and societal order comes into existence. The author argues that governmentality represents a fundamental pattern of political order in world society that also profoundly affects power dynamics in Palestine. This insight has two important implications: First, power relations do not follow dichotomous distinctions such as international/domestic or global/local, but manifest themselves within world society. Second, therefore, order that comes into existence in Palestine needs to be understood as world-societal order.

Offering a comprehensive understanding of power relations and patterns of political order(ing) embedded in world society, the book provides a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics that contribute to the political and societal order of Palestine. This book will be of interest to scholars and students of Middle East Studies, Palestine Studies, International Relations, International Political Sociology, International Relations Theory, Governmentality Studies, and Political Theory.


"In the vast field of literature on the Middle East in general, and on Palestine in particular, this book by Jan Busse is a gem. Rich in of understanding the local conditions, it shows how locality is inextricably woven into, and partly produced by, global context. This global context is analysed in a conceptually innovative fashion. This book is a must-read not only for every student of contemporary Palestine, but also for those interested in the uses of sociological approaches in understanding contemporary world affairs."- Mathias Albert, Bielefeld University, Germany

"This volume addresses in an excellent way the growing number of calls for a stronger cross-fertilization between IR Theory and Middle East Studies and for disciplinary boundary crossing more generally. Based on an innovative theoretical framework that combines Foucault’s notion of governmentality and the Stanford School’s sociological neo-institutionalism the volume not only contributes, in original ways, to our understanding of how order is constituted and power exercised in a Palestine embedded within the world society. It, furthermore, succeeds in showing why it is important to transcend prevalent but problematic dichotomies in the study of global politics, such as universalism/particularism, inside/outside, traditional/modern, local/global, and, not at least, how this can be done." - Morten Valbjørn, Aarhus University, Denmark

"I was fascinated by the research undertaken by Jan Busse. This is an outstanding book that succeeds in what many publications in the field fail to do. Namely, to combine innovative theoretical reflection with rigorous empirical insights generated on the basis of intimate knowledge about a specific place. The book elegantly combines theories of world society and Foucauldian theory with an inspiring analysis of politics in Palestine. A must-read." - Stephan Stetter, Bundeswehr University Munich, Germany

From the Series Editor Preface, authored by by Iver B. Neumann:

This book draws on two perspectives that have a rightful place in a series on the new International Relations, namely Foucauldian governmentality studies and the world society perspective of the Stanford School. (…)

The book introduces these perspectives, as well as their contested uptake within the discipline of International Relations, and brings them to bear on detailed empirical analyses of Palestinian practices. (…) The result is a book that challenges the all-too-prominent methodological nationalism of Palestinian Studies and, by implication, other area-specific fields. More than that, however, the book is part and parcel of the general thrust towards making International Relations a more social discipline that is arguably at the core of the new International Relations.

In sociology-speak, it succeeds in pairing up the micro, the meso, and the macro. In anthropology-speak, it begins to look at interaction data in order to say something about social form. In New International Relations parlance, it focuses on the everyday as it is shaped by and shapes institutions and states. That should be as true an aim as any social science could ask for.

"Jan Busse’s Deconstructing the Dynamics of World Societal Order offers a unique and innovative analysis of Palestine for scholars of International Relations (IR). (…) Deconstructing the Dynamics of World Societal Order requires attention from the discipline. It speaks to the various literatures, from post-structuralist IR to area studies. It advances the debates on how governmentality can be adopted to study political and social phenomena without abandoning a global perspective. Most importantly, the book provokes new ideas and ways of thinking about Palestine." - The International Spectator

"Deconstructing the Dynamics of World Societal Order requires attention from the discipline.It speaks to the various literatures, from post-structuralist IR to area studies. It advances the debates on how governmentality can be adopted to study political and social phenomena without abandoning a global perspective. Most importantly, the book provokes new ideas and ways of thinking about Palestine." - Ali Bilgic, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, Loughborough University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Global Palestine and world society

3. Conceptualizing governmentality in world society

4. Contested numbers: the biopolitics of statistics in Palestine

5. The surveillance of good governance in Palestine

6. The order of the subject: technologies of the self in Palestine

7. Conclusion

About the Author

Jan Busse is a Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Institute of Political Science at Bundeswehr University Munich, Germany.

About the Series

New International Relations

The field of international relations has changed dramatically in recent years, with new subject matter being brought to light and new approaches from in and out of the social sciences being tried out. This series offers itself as a broad church for innovative work that aims to renew the discipline.


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / General