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.
|Title of host publication||Foucault and the Modern International : Silences and Legacies for the Study of World Politics|
|Editors||Philippe Bonditti, Didier Bigo, Frédéric Gros|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
|Series||The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy|
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