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Governmentality is a concept developed by French poststructuralist philosopher Michel Foucault that seeks to explain how states maintain control over their populations, as well as the way governments (and governance) facilitate citizenry through the production of compliant subjects, with actual or perceived constant surveillance by the state playing a primary role in ensuring that compliance. Governmentality can be thought of as “the art of government,” as Foucault writes, or it can describe the methods and practices used to govern. Governmentality is thus aimed at how people exist within society and, specifically, how they react to the government’s directives, its formal institutions, and its associated ideologies. Governmentality can be thought of through its etymological roots combining the French words for “govern” and “mentality.” This entry ...

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