1st Edition

Governmentality, Biopower, and Everyday Life

By Majia Holmer Nadesan Copyright 2008
    258 Pages
    by Routledge

    258 Pages
    by Routledge

    Governmentality, Biopower, and Everyday Life synthesizes and extends the disparate strands of scholarship on Foucault's notions of governmentality and biopower and grounds them in familiar social contexts including the private realm, the market, and the state/military. Topics include public health, genomics, behavioral genetics, neoliberal market logics and technologies, philanthropy, and the war on terror.

    This book is designed for readers interested in a rigorous, comprehensive introduction to the wide array of interdisciplinary work focusing on Foucault, biopower and governmentality. However, Nadesan does not merely reproduce existing literatures but also responds to implicit critiques made by Cultural Studies and Marxist scholarship concerning identity politics, political economy, and sovereign force and disciplinary control. Using concrete examples and detailed illustrations throughout, this book extends the extant literature on governmentality and biopower and helps shape our understanding of everyday life under neoliberalism.

    1. Introduction.  Governmentality.  Assumptions and Methods.  Chapters  2. Liberal Governmentalities.  Liberal Governmentalities.  The Liberal State:  A Genealogy of Early Modernism.  Pastoral Power, Biopower and the Liberal Welfare State.  Neoliberal Enterprise and Neoconservative Governmentalities.  Neoliberal Governmental: Enterprise and Risk.  Neoconservative and Christian Pastoral Government.  Diffusions  3. Governing the Self-Regulating Market.  Markets, Mercantilism and Laissez-Faire Government.  Markets, Mercantilism, and Circulation.  Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Joint-Stock Companies, Trading, and Law.  Laissez-Faire Government: A Philosophy of Wealth and Poverty.  Nineteenth Century Markets: Corporatization and Colonialism.  A Genealogy of the American Corporation.  Governing “Protected” Markets.  Gold Standard Market Government.  Nineteenth Century Problematics of Government.  Governing Economic Risk: From Laissez-Faire to the Welfare State.  The End of Laissez-Faire and the Welfare State.  Finance, Fordism and the Welfare State.  Neoliberalism: Enterprise and Risk.  U.S. Neoliberalism.  Globalizing Neoliberalism.  Neoliberal Authorities, Risks, and Global Flows.  Neoliberal Policy, Corporate Government, and the Population.  Neoliberal Market Government and Biopolitical Crises  4. Governing Population: Biopower, Risk, and the Politics of Health.  The Birth of Biopolitics and Foucault’s Genealogy of Social Medicine.  The Diseased Body: Transformations in Understanding.  Social Medicine: From Sanitary Science to the Science of the Germ.  The Surveillance Model of Medicine: From the Germ to Eugenics.  Twentieth Century Social-Surveillance Medicine.  From Social-Welfare Governmentality to Neoliberal Technologies of Health Government.  Conservative Government of Health Risk.  Twentieth Century Genetics and Genomics.  Genes, Genetic Analysis and Genomic Analysis.  Genetic Engineering.  Genetic Biopolitics.  Contesting Health: Biopolitics and Marketization  5. Governing Population: Mind and Brain as Governmental Spaces.  Madness, Criminology and Eugenics: Nineteenth Century Dividing Practices.  Madness: From Moral Pathology to Biological Psychiatry.  The Biologization of Criminal Degeneracy and the Development of Eugenics.  Twentieth Century Biopower: From Normalization to Optimization.  Mental Hygiene, Normalization, and Development of Technologies of the Self.  From Normalization to Optimization: Mental Health and Human Development in the Welfare State.  Governing the Brain: Behavioral Genetics, Psychopharmacology and Cognitive Neuroscience.  Behavioral Genetics.  Psychopharmacology.  Neurological Visibility.  Governing Difference: Self-Government, Disciplinarity, and the Society of Control  6. Biopower, Sovereignty, and America's Global Security.  Foucault, Agamben, and Sovereignty.  The United States of America: Biopower, Race and Sovereignty.  Surveillance, Threat Governmentality, and Precautionary Risk.  Sovereign Exceptionality.  Sovereignty and Liberal Governmentality  7. "Bad Subjects" and Liberal Governmentalities.  Notes.  References.  Index.


    Majia Holmer Nadesan is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Arizona State University at the West Campus. She authored Constructing Autism: Unravelling the 'Truth' and Understanding the Social (Routledge, 2005). Her Foucauldian-inspired work bridges cultural studies and political economy while addressing everyday concerns and practices specific to the workplace, child-rearing, and education.

    "A much needed update of the governmentality framework to account for new developments in biopower and sovereignty. This is both an excellent introduction to key terms in recent Foucauldian political theory as well as a thorough accounting of the various spaces and practices of governing in the contemporary US context."

    Jack Z. Bratich, Rutgers University


    "This is an ambitious text explaining the convergence of neoliberal economics, the neoconservative security state, and social conservatism using the lens of Foucaultian governmentality... Recommended." -- Choice, March 2009


    "Majia Nadesan's new book is a welcome addition to the critique of neoliberalism, and will be of interest for those concerned with the rising practices of surveillance and normalization in the name of improving life."

    - Brian Sluggett, University of Alberta, Surveillance & Society


    Overall, this collection of essays provides a number of compelling and novel observations on cancer in the twentieth century, and hopefully it will serve to inspire further scholarship in this area. Mark Parascandola, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda