Governmentality, Criticism, Politics
The growth of the goernmentality literature represents a significant development in current social teory. However, certain prominent and interlinked tendencies, which are associated with the place of politics as a subject and object of theoretical work, are queried. Most especially the concerns are with: the rejection of critique as part of the work of social theory; the rendering of government programmes as univocal and as overly coherent and systematic; and the foucs on politics as “mentalities of rule” to the virutal exclusion of understanding politics as social relations. The paper explores some of these difficulties which are here seen as presending problems for the future devlopement of governmentality research and theory. Without aiming to systematize the literature, nevertheless the paper suggests that the time is overdue for central issues in the literature of govermentality to become the subject of more open and vigoruous debate.