The term ‘governmentality’ is derived from the work of the French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926–1984). It originated in Foucault’s 1978–1979 lectures to the Collège de France; however, Foucault never committed these lectures to a final written form, and the majority of the lectures remained unpublished until after his death. In spite of this, the term has become one of Foucault’s most enduring, inspiring a particular kind of philosophical and political analysis, which seeks to understand the nature of the practice of government. The term ‘government’ should be taken here not only in the narrow sense of the instrument through which state power is enacted but also as the ‘rationality’ or ‘art’ according to which power and rule are effected; in Foucault’s own terms, this is ...

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