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Foucault and Political Reason

Liberalism, Neo-Liberalism, and Rationalities of Government

Despite the enormous influence of Michel Foucault in gender studies, social theory, and cultural studies, his work has been relatively neglected in the study of politics. Although he never published a book on the state, in the late 1970s Foucault examined the technologies of power used to regulate society and the ingenious recasting of power and agency that he saw as both consequence and condition of their operation.

These twelve essays provide a critical introduction to Foucault’s work on politics, exploring its relevance to past and current thinking about liberal and neo-liberal forms of government. Moving away from the great texts of liberal political philosophy, this book looks closely at the technical means with which the ideals of liberal political rationalities have been put into practice in such areas as schools, welfare, and the insurance industry.

This fresh approach to one of the seminal thinkers of the twentieth century is essential reading for anyone interested in social and cultural theory, sociology, and politics.

288 pages | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1996

Culture Studies

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Table of Contents

List of contributors
Andrew Barry, Thomas Osborne, Nikolas Rose.
1: Liberal government and techniques of the self
Graham Burchell
2: Governing "advanced" liberal democracies
Nikolas Rose
3: Liberalism, socialism and democracy: variations on a governmental theme
Barry Hindess
4: The promise of liberalism and the performance of freedom
Vikki Bell
5: Security and vitality: drains, liberalism and power in the nineteenth century
Thomas Osborne
6: Lines of communication and spaces of rule
Andrew Barry
7: Assembling the school
Ian Hunter
8: Governing the city: liberalism and early modern modes of governance
Alan Hunt
9: Risk and responsibility
Pat O’Malley
10: Foucault, government and the enfolding of authority
Mitchell Dean
11: Revolutions within: self-government and self-esteem
Barbara Cruikshank
12: Foucault in Britain
Colin Gordon

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