Stuart Elden’s article “Rethinking governmentality” came out earlier this year and I’m a little slow linking to it, but don’t miss it. It’s an introduction to a whole section of the same name in the journal Political Geography. The other papers included “From micro-powers to governmentality: Foucault’s work on statehood, state formation, statecraft and state power” by Bob Jessop, “Governing through contingency: The security of biopolitical governance” by Michael Dillon, and “Spaces of security: The example of the town. Lecture of 11th January 1978” by Michel Foucault (from STP).
Excerpt from Stuart’s piece:
The impact of the newly available lectures will be, it seems to me, in three main areas: space; history; and politics.
First, in the lectures Foucault says a great deal about the organisation and politics of space. The opening lectures of Sécurité, Territoire, Population are concerned with what Foucault calls apparatuses [dispositifs] of security, of which he gives three examples: town planning; food shortages; and vaccination campaigns. These are intended to illustrate four general traits: the spaces of security; the aleatory – the chancy, the risky, and the contingent; normalisation as mechanism of security; and the relation between technologies of security and population, as the moment of the emergence of the question of population (Foucault, 2004a, 13). Foucault’s concern is therefore not with discipline, as his earlier works of the mid-1970s had looked at, but with the spaces of security, of the government of a polity. He is concerned with the way in which sovereignty, discipline and security are each connected to a particular spatial distribution [répartition] (2004a, 14). The question of circulation of goods, people and wealth emerges as a particular concern in terms of commerce within and between states, but also for health and hygiene, and surveillance (2004a, 19–20).