1st Edition

Foucault and Managerial Governmentality Rethinking the Management of Populations, Organizations and Individuals

Edited By Alan McKinlay, Eric Pezet Copyright 2017
    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    In the last two decades there has been an explosion of research inspired by Michel Foucault’s suggestion of a new concept, ‘governmentality’. The distinctive feature of modern governmentality is that across all sorts of fields, rule is predicated upon the active subject as the vehicle through which—and by which—power is exercised. The appeal of governmentality is that, whether we are considering the workplace, the school or welfare regimes, it opens up new ways of looking at familiar institutions.

    Foucault and Managerial Governmentality is about Michel Foucault’s concept of governmentality. The novelty of this concept is that looks at the ways that populations and organisations are imagined in ways that premise collective gains through expanding individual freedoms. Specifically, how are technologies of freedom devised that improve the overall performance—health, productivity, or parental responsibility—of a given population?

    Understanding the operation of technologies of control is a simple enough task, argues Foucault, but also one that blinds us to the increasing prevalence of technologies of freedom. Foucault and Managerial Governmentality aims not just to locate this concept in Foucault’s wider research project but to apply it to all sorts of management techniques. By applying governmentality to questions of management and organization we will also develop Foucault’s original, somewhat sketchy concept.

    This book has three innovative narratives: an awareness of the historicity of the concept; the application of governmentality to specific forms of management means that we escape the temptation to read any and all forms of technology and organization as an expression of neoliberalism; and, finally, the interviews with Peter Miller and Nikolas Rose provide unique intellectual and personal insights into the development of the governmentalist project over the last thirty years.

    Part 1: Introduction

    1. Governmentality: The Career of a Concept

    Alan McKinlay and Eric Pezet

    Part 2: Locating Governmentality

    2. Getting to the Surface of Things: Foucault as Theorist and Historian of Management and Accounting

    Keith Hoskin

    3. A Dialogue with Foucault on Power

    Mark Haugaard

    4. Liberal Governmentalities and the Heterotopic Behaviour of the Firm

    Eric Pezet and Nelarine Cornelius

    Part 3: Bodies and Souls

    5. Governmentality and the Historian: Scotland and the History of Protestant Pastoral Power

    Alistair Mutch

    Chapter Eight6: Government at a Distance: The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

    Jose Bento da Silva and Paolo Quattrone

    Chapter Ten7: Birth of the Pain Clinic: Governmentality, Identity, and Chronic Pain

    Steven J. Gold

    Part 4: Expertise, Experts and Governmentality

    8. ‘Bottled Magic’: The Business of Self-Knowledge

    Alan McKinlay and Scott Taylor

    9. Governing Knowledge: The Siemens Experience

    Nancy Richter

    Part 5: Conclusion

    10. Making Governmentality I: An Interview with Peter Miller

    Alan McKinlay

    11. Making Governmentality II: An Interview with Nikolas Rose

    Alan McKinlay


    Alan McKinlay is Professor of Human Resource Management at Newcastle University Business School, UK. 

    Eric Pezet is Professor in Organizational Theory and Human Resource Management at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre, France. He is co-founder of international research centre, Paris Research in Norms, Management and Law (PRIMAL).