Brian C. J. Singer and Lorna Weir Sovereignty, Governance and the Political: The Problematic of Foucault
Thesis Eleven 2008 94: 49-71
ABSTRACT Contemporary Foucauldian research assimilates the political with governance. This formulation dates to Foucault’s emphasis on the significance of the anti-Machiavellians in introducing the concept of governance into political theory. Returning to Machiavelli, we argue that early modern political theory was instead characterized by the simultaneous problematization of ruler and ruled, and the co-constitution of sovereignty and governance. We then outline the relation of ruler and ruled in the political structure of the democratic sovereign. Concepts of both sovereignty and governance are necessary to theorize the political in modernity, including the dangers that arise from fusing sovereignty and governance, as occurred during the Nazi period in Germany, when the distinction between the sovereign people and the governed population was conflated.
KEYWORDS Agamben • fascism • Foucault • governance • Machiavelli •
sovereignty • state of exception
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