Power as Sumbolon: Sovereignty, Governmentality and the International

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

While Foucault was concerned with power throughout his entire work, it is in the 1970s that it receives his most explicit treatment. As a way of summarizing his manifold contributions to problems of the relation of sovereignty and governmentality, I propose the figure of the sumbolon, which he himself used in his lectures during that decade. This figure and its “rule of halves” prevent us from reducing his analysis of power to one of liberal or economic government. This provides us with a framework for both how the international domain is approached in these investigations and how we might remain loyally unfaithful to his approach to the international and to power more broadly. I indicate three ways we might enact this ethos: by identifying a liberal international dispositif alongside Foucault’s diplomatic-military one associated with reason of state; by the comparative investigation the question of limits and their fecundity in reason of state and liberalism, in both domestic and international domains; and by viewing sovereignty not simply as grounded in a “right of death” but as the very condition of a biopolitics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFoucault and the Modern International : Silences and Legacies for the Study of World Politics
EditorsPhilippe Bonditti, Didier Bigo, Frédéric Gros
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2017
Pages97-114
Chapter6
ISBN (Print)9781349950980
ISBN (Electronic)9781137561589
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
SeriesThe Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy

Cite this

Dean, M. (2017). Power as Sumbolon: Sovereignty, Governmentality and the International. In P. Bonditti, D. Bigo, & F. Gros (Eds.), Foucault and the Modern International: Silences and Legacies for the Study of World Politics (pp. 97-114). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-56153-4_6
Dean, Mitchell. / Power as Sumbolon : Sovereignty, Governmentality and the International. Foucault and the Modern International: Silences and Legacies for the Study of World Politics. editor / Philippe Bonditti ; Didier Bigo ; Frédéric Gros. New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. pp. 97-114 (The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy).
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Dean, M 2017, Power as Sumbolon: Sovereignty, Governmentality and the International. in P Bonditti, D Bigo & F Gros (eds), Foucault and the Modern International: Silences and Legacies for the Study of World Politics. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy, pp. 97-114. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-56153-4_6

Power as Sumbolon : Sovereignty, Governmentality and the International. / Dean, Mitchell.

Foucault and the Modern International: Silences and Legacies for the Study of World Politics. ed. / Philippe Bonditti; Didier Bigo; Frédéric Gros. New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. p. 97-114 (The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

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Dean M. Power as Sumbolon: Sovereignty, Governmentality and the International. In Bonditti P, Bigo D, Gros F, editors, Foucault and the Modern International: Silences and Legacies for the Study of World Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2017. p. 97-114. (The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy). https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-56153-4_6