Studying the Agency of Being Governed  book cover
1st Edition

Studying the Agency of Being Governed

ISBN 9781138747098
Published February 6, 2017 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

This edited volume seeks to provide guidance on how we can approach questions of governing and agency—particularly those who endeavour to embark on grounded empirical research— by rendering explicit some key challenges, tensions, dilemmas, and confluences that such endeavours elicit. Indeed, the contributions in this volume reflect the growing tendency in governmentality studies to shift focus to empirically grounded studies. The volume thus explicitly aims to move from theory to practice, and to step back from the more top-down governmentality studies approach to one that examines how one can/does study how relations of power affect lives, experience and agency.

This book offers insight into the intricate relations between the workings of governing and (the possibility for) people’s agency on the one hand, and about the possible effects of our attempts to engage in such studies on the other. In numerous ways, and from different starting points, the contributions to this volume provide thoughtful insights into, and creative suggestions for, how to work with the methodological challenges of studying the agency of being governed.

This work will be of great interest to students and scholars of international relations, global governance and research methods.

Table of Contents

PART I, 1. Introduction, Maria Stern, Sofie Hellberg and Stina Hansson 2. Power, freedom and the agency of being governed, Stina Hansson and Sofie Hellberg 3. The artist of not being governed: The emergence of the political subject, Sergei Prozorov PART II 4. Studying provocations: the researcher’s care for what exists, Vikki Bell 5. Avoiding the ‘killing’ of lives: representations in academia and fiction, Christine Sylvester, 6. Institutional validation and the agency of the researcher, Gayatri Spivak 7. How to study power and collective agency: social movements and the politics of international aid, Håkan Thörn PART III, 8. Studying reform of/in/by the National Armed Forces in the DRC, Maria Stern and Maria Eriksson Baaz 8. Analysing responsibilisation in the context of development cooperation, Stina Hansson 9. From ‘Squaddie’ to ‘Bodyguard’: Towards a Remilitarised Agency?, Paul Higate 10. Studying the governing of lives through bio-narratives, Sofie Hellberg 11. Conclusion, Stina Hansson and Sofie Hellberg

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Stina Hansson is a University Lecturer in Peace and Development Research in the School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University, Sweden

Sofie Hellberg is a University Lecturer and a PhD candidate in Peace and Development Research in the School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University, Sweden

Maria Stern is Professor of Peace and Development Research in the School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University, Sweden



"This is a welcome contribution shedding much light on how issues such as agency and resistance can be dealt with in governmentality studies – a field in which it is fair to say that such issues, even if not wholly neglected, have long been viewed primarily as objects to be regulated or governed. (...) All in all, this is a stimulating book both theoretically and methodologically and should be of interest to all who are interested either in governmentality studies or larger issues of agency and resistance."

- Carl Cassega°rd, University of Gothenburg