Tragic Expectations: A Governmentality Analysis of Facilitation as a Modern Program of Governance

Mads Bjerregaard

Student thesis: Master thesis


A central aspect to the concept of Governmentality is how modern governance operates in the dualism between individual and totalizing forms of power. This thesis investigates how a specific program of modern ruling, that is ‘facilitation’, revolves around this tension. By constructing facilitation as program, which tries to re-orientate the regime of practise I define as ‘meeting-management’, the analysis shows what kind moral codes are installed by facilitation, and discusses how these engage in a complex relationship in the tension between individual and totalizing forms of power.
Chapter 1 problematizes facilitation through its own promises of universal optimization of meeting-management. In chapter 2, I clarify the analytical framework needed to capture the specific dynamics of the moral codes I try to recognize. By operating with Michel Foucault’s concept of governmentality as theoretical background, Mitchell Deans governmentality-analysis, and Foucault’s analysis of the moral, I construct an analytical strategy that is sensitive to facilitation as the ‘conduct of conduct’, as well as the analysis of power in terms of revealing the specific structures of power.
Chapter 3 begins by unfolding the particular problematizations of existing meetingmanagement as a natural starting point of any governmentality-analysis. I recognize four distinct problematizations that call on specific solutions analysed through specific fields of visibility, technical aspects, forms of knowledge and subjectifications. This ends up with four different moral codes: 1) ‘Individual governance’ 2) ‘Collective governance’ 3) ‘Planning governance’ 4) ‘Ignorant governance’.
Chapter 4 discusses how these different moral codes engage in a tragic relationship by stimulating problematizations that other moral codes try to solve. This tragic relationship revolves around the tension between individual and totalizing forms of power or technologies of agency and technologies of performance. I conclude by discussing how technologies of agency create a need for technologies of performance and vice versa. Facilitation thereby becomes a tragic form of governance that problematizes what it creates itself, whereby it can never be satisfied. The exercise of governance will naturally lead to even more governance.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages129