Power, Life and the Art of Government: Foucault's Genealogy of Modern Politics

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Description: In this dissertation I argue that although Foucault's genealogical inquiries from the middle to late 1970's are divided between those that examine bio-power and those that investigate governmentality, these two registers of political practice can and ought to be considered correlated and interconnected. I argue that the historical intelligibility of the forms of power over life, disciplinary and biopolitical, developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, must be understood relative to the political forms of governance that were invented and developed during the same period. I develop this argument through an analytical and exegetical examination of Foucault's published works and his lectures at the College de France, and contrary to the position, presented by prominent authors in the secondary literature on this period of Foucault's work, which claims that upon embarking on the critical investigation of the forms of governmental thought and practice characteristic of modern politics that Foucault abandoned the problem of the relation between power and life. Although the division between bio-power and governmentality enables a certain degree of analytical clarity regarding the organization of Foucault's corpus, and regarding the practices and discourses that constitute modern politics, I argue that one can develop a more critically incisive account of the exercise of modern political power, and a more complete account of the general terms of Foucault's genealogies, by bringing into relief the historically articulated connections between the techniques of bio-power and the rationalities of political governance developed within modern societies. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by addressing your request to ProQuest, 789 E. Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346. Telephone 1-800-521-3042; e-mail:
Language: English
Format: Degree Work