Foucault and International Relations: New Critical Engagements, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Foucault and International Relations

New Critical Engagements, 1st Edition

Edited by Nicholas J. Kiersey, Doug Stokes


216 pages

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Paperback: 9780415847759
pub: 2013-05-31
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The recent debate about biopolitics in International Relations (IR) theory may well prove to be one of the most provocative and rewarding engagements with the concept of power in the history of the discipline. Building on Foucault's arguments concerning the role played by the concept of security in 19th-century liberal government, numerous IR scholars are now arguing for the relevance of his theories of biopolitics and governmentality for understanding the Global War on Terror (GWOT) and broader issues of security and governance in the post 9/11 world.

Conversely, others have criticized this idea. Marxist and Communitarian scholars have challenged the notion that the category of biopolitics can be 'scaled' up to the level of international relations with any analytical precision. This edited volume covers these debates in IR with a series of critical engagements with Foucault's own thought and its increasing relevance for understanding international relations in the post 9/11 world.

This book was based on a special issue of Global Society.

Table of Contents

1. Editorial Introduction Nicholas J. Kiersey and Jason R. Weidner 2. Neoliberal Political Economy and the Subjectivity of Crisis: Why Governmentality is Not Hollow Nicholas J. Kiersey 3. Governmentality, Capitalism, and Subjectivity Jason R. Weidner 4. Governmentality of What? Populations, States and International Organisations Jonathan Joseph 5. Foucault’s Concept of Power and the Global Discourse of Human Rights Ivan Manokha 6. Hobbes, War, Movement Leonie Ansems De Vries and Jorg Spieker 7. Taking Foucault beyond Foucault: Inter-state Governmentality in Early Modern Europe Halvard Leira 8. Decentring Global Power: The Merits of a Foucauldian Approach to International Relations Doerthe Rosenow 9. “. . . we are being left to burn because we do not count”: Biopolitics, Abandonment, and Resistance Anna Selmeczi 10. Rethinking Foucault in International Relations: Promiscuity and Unfaithfulness Andrew W. Neal

About the Editors

Nicholas J. Kiersey is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ohio University-Chillicothe. He has published research on "world state" theory, scale and bio-politics in the War on Terror, and the European Union’s attitude to Turkish accession. His current research focuses on discourses of neoliberal capitalist subjectivity and the "debate about empire" in IR theory.

Doug Stokes is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Kent, Canterbury. His work covers critical international relations theory and US foreign policy. His most recent book is called American Hegemony and Global Energy Security and is due out in 2010 with the Johns Hopkins University Press.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins ( and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Political
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General