• Summary
  • Contents
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“When it comes to ‘power’, it can often feel as if everyone is talking about it, yet no one appears to have given it any thought. Well, not quite. In this original and timely book, Mitchell Dean provides a characteristically thoughtful and incisive analysis that aims to renovate the concept of power through an understanding of its signature and how it works. Through a thorough and intelligent engagement with the work of Foucault, Schmitt, and Agamben, their lacuna and failings, Dean pieces together a clear and precise account of sovereignty, governmentality, and bio-politics, which has much to commend it.”

- Paul Du Gay, Copenhagen Business School

“Dean's erudite and relentlessly critical reading of Foucault, Schmitt and Agamben extracts from these authors new insights about the signature of power … Immensely valuable and a major contribution to social and political thought.”

- William Walters, Carleton University

Mitchell Dean revitalized the study of ‘governmentality’ with his bestselling book of the same title. His new book on power is a landmark work.

It combines an extraordinary breadth of perspective with pinpoint accuracy about what power means for us today. For students it provides sharp readings of the main approaches in the field. On this level, it operates as a foundational work in the study of power. It builds on this to reframe the concept of power, offering original and exceptionally fruitful reading. It throws new light onto the importance of biopolitics, sovereignty and governmentality.

Mitchell Dean has established himself as a master of governmentality. This new book will do the same for how we conceptualize and use power.

Mitchell Dean is Professor of Public Governance at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and Professor of Sociology at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

The Prince and the Population
The prince and the population

4.1 During his lecture of 25 January 1978, Foucault argues that there is a ‘very important change’ in the eighteenth century, which leads away from ‘Machiavelli's problem’ which was ‘precisely how to ensure that the sovereign's power is not endangered, or at any rate, how can it keep at bay, with full certainty, the threats hanging over it’ (2007: 65). The change is to a ‘completely different problem’ that is no ‘longer fixing and demarcating the territory, but of allowing circulations to take place, of controlling them, sifting the good and the bad, ensuring that things are always in movement, constantly moving around, continually going from one point to another, but in such a way that ...

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