Research group "Governmentality"

  • Focus

    By coining the term “Governmentality“, Michel Foucault attempted to conceive a historic and systematic theory of governance which grasps and analyses the relationship between governance techniques (gouverner) and the mindset and methods associated with a practice of self-government by the subjects (mentalité).
    One result is a different understanding of society as a relation that exists through the concurrence of manifold power relationships in addition to being a consequence of political and societal power coupled with a diverging understanding of polity.
    An understanding which views the political constitution of societies, their structures, organization principles and institutions as a stabilization of these societal power relationships which result in methodic and methodological consequences - which force a scientific change of perspective concerning the implementation of the concept.
    Starting with the question of how these power relationships - in their societal capacity - are defined as a balance of power achieved by politics, the gaze is no longer set on the level of state institutions and decisions of political actors, but on those areas of society in which the social organization of the societal balance of power takes place as a result of this polity - or in Foucault’s way: in forms of governmental technologies.
    The research group focuses on the meaning of governmentality as a term and concept. The members apply the instruments which were developed with the term “governmentality” to current and selected subject areas for the purposes of an analysis of social power relations.