Maybe Baby: A Governmentality Investigation

Mikkel Bay-Smidt

Student thesis: Master thesis


The demographic challenge of small generations constituting the labour force while, on the other hand, large generations of citizens up for retirement led the thesis to wonder how the Danish state handles and governs the demographic challenge of low birth-rates. The thesis through a governmentality analysis looks into the fertility teaching material MaybeBaby which is on how to preserve one’s fertility and which is consigned by the state and targeted at high school students. The analysis investigates how it seems complicated to govern such area as fertility when the state through the teaching material is working to better the fertility among its citizens while at the same time the fertility of the citizens is considered a personal matter. The thesis extrapolates a Foucault-inspired analytical strategy taking a nominalist standpoint in the endeavour to show the contingency of the governing carried out through the teaching material. As the analysis demonstrates the state’s practicing of governance via the teaching material as contingent, the analysis liberates the receiver of the analysis to think and to act differently. First part of the analysis is structured and guided by the first research question which inquire into how the teaching material enables the state to govern the fertility of its citizens. The first part of the analysis argues how the teaching material by setting up certain object-forms, subject-forms, forms of truth and forms of action, operates as a governmental technology enabling the state to govern the fertility of its citizens through the citizens’ governing of themselves. Second part of the analysis carries out a response to the second research question which inquire into how a certain dispositiveform can be linked to the teaching material. In this context, the second part of the analysis reveals how the teaching material is deeply embedded in the pastoral dispositive and as such the students working with the teaching material are exposed to certain bindings disposed by the pastoral dispositive.

EducationsMsc in Business Administration and Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages64
SupervisorsTommy Moesby-Jensen