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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