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Govermentality, a term appearing in the later works of Michael Foucault, refers to the ethical practices whereby individuals form and care for the self as it is affected by the wider array of social powers and knowledges. Governmentality came to replace Foucault's more famous concept power/ knowledge (pouvoir/savoir) in the empirical volumes of his history of sexuality (Foucault 1985, 1986).

The deep background of the theory of governmentality is the long history of social theory's attempt to find a mediating position between the objective structures of social power and the subjective elements of selfhood. In his theory of power/knowledge, Foucault was one of the first in the late modern era to show that social theories of knowledge must perforce be theories of social power. In this ...

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