Governmentality, Statification and the State as a Practico-reflexive Prism: Towards a Foucauldian Theory of the State

Mathias Hein Jessen, Nicolai von Eggers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Michel Foucault’s ‘governmentality’-approach has often been used to investigate practices and technologies of government beyond, beside or beneath the (national, sovereign) state. However, even though Foucault himself was mostly interested in concrete practices and technologies of
government, we argue that the neologism ‘governmentality’ can be used to investigate that which we would normally term ‘the state’ without assuming its existence as an given entity.
This article focuses on Foucault’s notions of statification and the state as a practicoreflexive prism and uses Giorgio Agamben’s critique of Foucault’s governmentality-approach as a stepping-stone to re-investigate Foucault as a thinker of the state. A Foucualdian theory of the state emphasises how the state is a fictitious entity, constantly produced and reproduced by processes and practices of administration and acclamation, and yet necessary in order for the multiplicity of governmental power relations in modern societies to function
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventConcepts of Power - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 26 Apr 201826 Apr 2018


WorkshopConcepts of Power
LocationCopenhagen Business School

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