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"Biopower" is a term coined by French scholar, historian, and social theorist Michel Foucault. It relates to the practice of modern nation states and their regulation of their subjects through "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations".[1] Foucault first used the term in his lecture courses at the Collège de France,[2][3] but the term first appeared in print in The Will To Knowledge, Foucault's first volume of The History of Sexuality.[4] In Foucault's work, it has been used to refer to practices of public health, regulation of heredity, and risk regulation, among many other regulatory mechanisms often linked less directly with literal physical health. It is closely related to a term he uses much less frequently, but which subsequent thinkers have taken up independently, biopolitics.

Foucault and the concept of biopower[edit]

For Foucault, biopower is a technology of power, which is a way of managing people as a group. The distinctive quality of this political technology is that it allows for the control of entire populations. It is thus an integral feature and essential to the workings of—and makes possible—the emergence of the modern nation state and capitalism, etc.[5] Biopower is literally having power over bodies; "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations".[6] Foucault elaborates further in his lecture courses on Biopower entitled Security, Territory, Population delivered at the Collège de France between January and April 1978

..."By this I mean a number of phenomena that seem to me to be quite significant, namely, the set of mechanisms through which the basic biological features of the human species became the object of a political strategy, of a general strategy of power, or, in other words, how, starting from the 18th century, modern Western societies took on board the fundamental biological fact that human beings are a species. This is what I have called biopower"....[7]

It relates to the government's concern with fostering the life of the population, and centers on the poles of disciplinary institutions "an anatomo-politics of the human body a global mass that is affected by overall characteristics specific to life, like birth, death, production, illness, and so on.[8] A production of generalized disciplinary society[9] and regulatory controls a biopolitics of the population".[10][11][12] In his lecture course Society Must Be Defended, Foucault's tentative sojourner into biopolitical state racism, and its 'brilliant' accomplished rationale of myth-making and narrative in which Foucault states the fundamental difference between biopolitics[13] and discipline is: "Where discipline is the technology deployed to make individuals behave, to be efficient and productive workers, biopolitics is deployed to manage population; for example, to ensure a healthy workforce".[14] Foucault then goes on further to investigate what was the reasoning behind this modern biopolitical state racism.

Foucault claims that the previous Greco-Roman, Medieval rule of the emperors, the Divine right of kings and Absolute monarchy[15][16][17] model of power and social control over the body was an individualizing mode. This was then later modified after wholesale changes from the Middle Ages period.

After the emergence of the medieval metaphor body politic which meant society as a whole with the ruler, in this case the king, as the head of society with the so-called Estates of the realm (those who owned landed property, the Nobility and the Church) next to the monarch with the majority peasant population or feudal serfs at the bottom of the hierarchical pyramid, this meaning of the metaphor was then codified into medieval law for the offence of high treason, possibly as early as 1351[18][19] this is where the original concepts of biopolitics and biopower originate from. However, all of this was drastically and dramatically altered with the advent of political power in 18th century Europe. The voting franchise, liberal democracy and Political parties, universal adult suffrage exclusively male at this time, eventually extended to women in 1929 in Europe and extending to people of African heritage in America in 1964 African American descent, for further information on this see also Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The discovery of the human sciences and its subsequent direction primarily aimed at modern western man and the society he inhabits, together with the invention of Disciplinary institutions.[20][21][22] The transfer and transition through forcible removal of various European monarchs into a 'scientific' state apparatus and the radical overhaul of judiciary practices coupled with the reinvention and division of those who were to be punished and those who worked (from the working population and its source labour power) and the advent of anatomo-politics of the human body which took place between the 16th and 18th centuries.[23]

A second mode for seizure of power was invented and discovered; while this type of power was stochastic, this brand new version of power mutated from previous versions in the past which transformed into "massifying", not individualizing as in previous cases. By "massifying" Foucault means transformed into population with an extra added impetus of a controlling governing mechanism which Foucault calls a scientific machinery and apparatus known as the state. It should be noted here that Foucault does not see the 'scientific mechanism' "governing everything", but rather sees the scientific mechanism 'governing less' of the population and concentrating on administrating external devices: such as money, policy making decisions, military technology, education, medical administration, social welfare, criminal and legal legislation, production and industrial output, industrial legislation etc., allowing the population to 'govern themselves'. This contrast differently from previously different versions of social control as opposed to the singular king/ruler, Principality and territory where the previous historical model apparatus of whole population was subjected to the 'rule' and whims of the monarch. This type of power, which Foucault calls Biopower[24][25] contrasts differently with past traditional modes of power based on the threat of death from a sovereign. This power is no longer "directed at man-as-body, but at man-as-species".[26]

In an era where power must be justified both rationally and politically, biopower is utilized by an emphasis on the protection of life rather than the threat of death, on the regulation of the body, and the production of other technologies of power, such as the notion of sexuality. Regulation of customs, habits, health, reproductive practices, family, "blood", and "well-being" would be straightforward examples of biopower, as would any conception of the state as a "body" and the use of state power as essential to its "life". Hence the conceived relationship between biopower, eugenics and state racism.

With the concept of "biopower", which first appears in courses concerning the discourse of "race struggle"( Society Must Be Defended 1975-1976 courses), Foucault uses terms such as mechanism,[27][28] dispositif,[29][30] apparatus,[31] Discourse, Genealogy[32][33] in order to get us to think (and write about) of this version of power as continuous, penetrable, observable as opposed to the classical argument seeing man as:"inherent primate disposition for hierarchical social and authoritarian political systems. With a predisposition for social and political hierarchical structures."[34] This is the classic viewpoint on man and power, other studies show this as too overly simplistic or over hasty and there is no universal agreement or consensus on what 'human nature' is or what it is supposed to be contrary to the classical view which views human nature as a continuum through time. Other research methods show Foucault's evidence as having sound basis towards Foucault's alleged minority or 'Utopian' 'unconventional' view

..."So the other half of Somit and Peterson's half-truth amounts to this: Although we may have a deep evolutionary legacy of behavioral proclivities and biases, these are complex in nature and are ultimately of less importance in understanding the interplay of authoritarianism and democracy in today's world than are the many cultural influences -- from child-rearing practices to "socialization", peer pressures, social customs, the political culture, the mass media, economic conditions, institutional protections, and, not least, the "power" resources and decision "calculus" of both the rulers and the ruled. So what's wrong with Somit and Peterson's argument? If their thesis about human nature and hierarchies may have some merit, then what's missing from this picture?

In a nutshell, what is missing are (1) some other, countervailing elements of human nature, and (2) a more adequate conception of the role of "nurture" in political life. Somit and Peterson acknowledge the importance of an "interaction" between nature and nurture; it's the party-line among sociobiologists these days. But they reduce nurture to the truncated concept of "indoctrinability" -- which implies, perhaps unwittingly, a biological susceptibility to external manipulation by political operatives (or perhaps political science professors). In reality, "nurture" is a large and complicated domain that has many dimensions and plays a far more potent role in shaping human societies than Somit and Peterson suggest. Moreover, nurture is also a part of human nature -- a part of our evolved biological heritage -- although its precise content is obviously highly variable.

To begin at the beginning, our hominid ancestors diverged from the rest of the primate line more than five million years ago, and we have undergone a radical psychological make-over since then. Our primate instincts are overlain with a large, calculating ("Machiavellian") neo-cortex, as well as a greatly intensified degree of sociality -- propensities for social cooperation, sensitivity to social "approbation" (in Darwin's term) and even ethical sensibilities -- that are also biologically-grounded. As a rule, humans are neither exclusively competitive and hierarchical nor egalitarian and cooperative but an inextricable admixture of both. Moreover, the precise mix depends upon the context, including the influence of biologically-based personality differences -- which makes any gross generalizations about human nature extremely slippery"....[35]

Here at least explains, from the Classical viewpoint, its approximate method with a large amount of traditional rationality for its oeuvre heavily reliant on tradition to make conclusions 'as final decisions' towards conclusions. Foucault uses a rather unusual method involving oeuvre de la obscure meaning the 'obscure' is seen as the building block for human rationality functioning as norms which become familiar to people, giving the uninformed their 'view' and 'truth' of the world. The uninformed means the uninformed who have no direct access to policy decision making[36][37][38][39] therefore condemning those who work into a continuous comatose ignorance producing this network of power systems creating what Marx called 'labour power' which recreate and recycle a functioning society (comparable to a living breathing organism) and the population of producers who have no monetary resources and ownership of capital wealth; ownership of mines, banks, transportation equipment and machinery, such as aeroplanes car manufacturers and industry and therefore are confined to the bottom of the hierarchical pyramid, producing the problematization of a society comparable to Ants[40] or Bees[41] which inform evolutionary biology, for example of human nature. While inaccurate and now known to be scientifically flawed,.[42][43] nevertheless it remains 'true' from the classical perspective as opposed to the working population who are not uneducated or illiterate a wall which can be pieced.[44][45][46] Foucault investigates the functioning of the 'obscure' in history and human society which informs human thought and becomes familiar to humans (populations) who have no direct access to say, policy making and policy decisions(they are excluded) of government and states which operate as Raison d'état[47][48] in 'their' name and therefore functions as governmental reasoning and society's institutions leaving a functioning civil society[49] as the populations 'truth' and their 'norm'.[50]

This is the exact opposite to the classical method which however, sees human nature through a series of different mirrors and knowledge of man as being interpreted as having biological phenomena rather than historical phenomena, with sociological and sociocultural characteristics viewed through the process of human rationalization as opposed to complex interplay, spontaneous dialectic, interactions, mechanisms and networks. This is obviously inconsistent with its view on 'biological' human nature. This 'human nature', by no means universally agreed upon incidentally, thus, leaving social patterns and practices along with their preceding and 'essential' hierarchical structures as impenetrable to any 'rational' gaze.[51][52] Unfortunately, from the classical standpoint investigative work is viewed upon as having difficulty to interpret; data with no end product isolating power and then man, as either in a position of interpretation by the classical theorists as the final conclusion or man having anthropological characteristics with ancient relic features borrowed from the Pleistocene[53][54][55] era which have never altered with additional evolutionary, cultural and biological salient features rather than having a real historical and social character involved. Or to investigate critically this power, with man and his involvement with his interactions with the environment making it impossible to have any rigorous explanation or conclusions. Political systems, or knowledge systems in general, from the classical perspective, become too large to be comprehended interpreting the environment of man as an anachronism; information and data produced surrounding man as poorly understood viewing historical information as having no, or absence of history.

Obviously from the classical point of view, modern research methods (all from "Social sciences, Sociology, Humanities") cannot be used to penetrate observation leaving gaps in our knowledge and an accepted taken for granted approach to any analysis. Foucault views this as the exact opposite of rational analysis, with its operations (power) as nothing more than a series of contingencies and networks. Foucault then develops a holistic account of power and uses methods not too dissimilar to the astonishing and outstanding Medieval Islamic polymaths scholars Alhazen, Ibn Sīnā, and Ibn Khaldūn and to a lesser extant prominent science figures from 20th century science such as; Gregory Bateson, James Lovelock (the founder of Gaia hypothesis) and Robert N. Proctor (who coined the term agnotology[56]) and urges us to think outside the box of this new kind of power, therefore, opening up the possibilities of further investigations into this new perceived, impenetrable nature of biopower and according to Foucault he asks us to remember, this type of power is never neutral nor is it independent from the rest of society but are embedded within society functioning as embellished 'control technology' specifics.

Foucault argues; nation states, police, government, legal practices, human sciences and medical institutions have their own rationale, cause and effects, strategies, technologies, mechanisms and codes and have managed successfully in the past to obscure there workings by hiding behind observation and scrutiny. Foucault insists social institutions such as governments, laws, religion, politics, social administration, monetary institutions, military institutions cannot have the same rigorous practices and procedure with claims to independent knowledge like those of the human sciences;such as mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, physics, genetics and the biological sciences[57] for example so its workings (and therefore, its rationale and acceptance) consent to making it imperative that its 'substance' has too function as axiomatic strategic logic to be accomplished by other methods obscurity, invisibility, sanctions and if necessary by 'cohesion' (by those caught within the networks) or, failing that, coercion not coercion through threat but by your own rationality as "what is the alternative"? This explains why their history, networks, mechanism and organization is still to be written and is still relatively unknown, Foucault saw these differences in techniques as nothing more than 'behaviour control technologies', and modern biopower as nothing more than a series of webs and networks working its way around the societal body.

This is in direct opposition to the classical[58][59][60] and Marxist understanding of power[61] who saw power being weaved or wielded through either a sovereign ruler or an executive committee controlled by a ruling elite deliberately producing brutal oppression suppressing a docile working class who refuse to fight back or alternatively basically bland, non-intrusive, neutral, unknown or class-based relationships with basically negative associations, or related to censorship. Sexuality for example, Foucault argues, far from having been reduced to silence during the Victorian Era, was in fact subjected to a "sexuality Dispositif" (or "mechanism"), which incites and even forced the subject to speak about their sex. Thus, "sexuality does not exist", it is a discursive creation, which makes us believe that sexuality contains our personal truth (in the same way that the discourse of "race struggle" sees the truth of politics and history in the everlasting subterranean war which takes place beneath the so-called peace).

Furthermore, the exercise of power in the service of maximizing life carries a dark underside. When the state is invested in protecting the life of the population, when the stakes are life itself, anything can be justified. Groups identified as the threat to the existence of the life of the nation or of humanity can be eradicated with impunity. "If genocide is indeed the dream of modern power, this is not because of the recent return to the ancient right to kill; it is because power is situated and exercised at the level of life, the species, the race, and the large-scale phenomena of the population."[62]

Pre-Foucault usage of 'biopolitics'[edit]

Although Michel Foucault is the name primarily associated with the concept of biopower and bio-politics, the term Biopolitics was in fact used tentatively in 1911 when the magazine The New Age published the article "Biopolitics" by G. W. Harris and then reused in 1938 by Morley Roberts (1857–1942) in his book Biopolitics.[63] Originally used in the 19th century, the term had already been used by various thinkers from Europe, the German school of Geopolitics; Swedish political scientist Rudolf Kjellén mentions it in a two-volume book from 1905.[64] Also from British sources Walter Bagehot who wrote Physics and Politics in the late 19th century and gives an explanatory and tentative introduction to the term.[65] And the brilliant but relatively unknown biologist, Jakob von Uexküll, one of the founders of Semiology, whose unknown pioneering work is most worthy of a mention.[66] Foucault would have known about von Uexkull due to his very close working association with Jean Hyppolite, Georges Canguilhem, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gaston Bachelard and Maurice Blanchot. Whether Foucault already knew about the term, or whether he thought it was brand new to him or his audience is unknown. But it seems that the concept pre-dates his use of the term by at least 70 years or more when he started to introduce the concept to his audience from his lectures.[67]

According to Albert Somit (the current editor of Research In Biopolitics series and leading theorist and scholar on biopolitics[68]), by 1972 the literature of biopolitics contained at least some 40 different items. And by the time that Foucault used the phrase in his famous lectures at the Collège de France between January and April 1979,[69] according to Somit, there were several different approaches to the concept of biopolitics.:[70] 1. The case for a biologically oriented political science. 2. The ethological aspects of political behavior. 3. Physiological and psychopharmaceutical aspects of political behaviour. 4. Issues of public policy raised by recent advances in biology.[71] Foucault then offers from his lectures his conclusions from both the schools of thought of the twentieth century from this time; neo-liberalism, German ordoliberalism (the Freiburg School) and the Chicago school of economics

... "It is-as both condition and final end-that makes it possible to no longer ask: How can one govern as much as possible at the least possible cost? Instead, the question becomes: Why must one govern? That is to say: What makes government necessary, and what ends must it pursue with regard to society in order to justify its own existence? It is the idea of society which permits the development of a technology of government based on the principle that it is already in itself "too much", "excessive" - or at least that it is added as a supplement whose necessity and usefulness can and must always be question..."[72]

Foucault then takes on the concept into a different direction by positioning it between biological processes, the control of human populations through political means; government, management and Social organization; through work, the labor force and the ruthless efficiency of the organization of money through the International monetary systems of whole human populations (bio) and politics (polis), this is essentially Foucault's meaning of biopolitics; human biology and its amalgamation with politics. Foucault then situates liberalism's take on society where liberalism sees the state and society as a societal organism (neoliberalism never mentions it in any of their narratives nor is it ever mentioned by name as it is automatically assumed by liberalism that state organization was automatically, ingrained in the human psyche in the guise of an invisible organic whole called the body politic, where all humans are involved regardless of their class position) capable of producing, multiplying, reproducing and if necessary, having a destructive capability.

Foucault's disciples (Giorgio Agamben), etc. offer a chilling account and new meaning to this biopower and its destructive capability; the so-called thanatopolitics,[73][74] the systematic slaughtering of millions of people from the population, through the use of political power via the military machine which produced the politics of death an intersection between biopolitics a conception of that individualizing power which constructs the subjectivity of subjects, which has the power to make live and let die from the individual's perspective, which contrasts differently from the sovereign power (the executive power), which has the power to right to live and make die. Where the sword of Damocles is quite literally held over society's head where: "an absolutization of the biopower to make live intersected with the absolute generalization of the sovereign power to make die."[75][76] Consequently, even the deaths of those in Auschwitz, Belsen concentration camps were literally death camps of organized slaughter for the helpless civilians of World War II what these brutal deaths signified a stark, brutish and cruel reality; "The power in thanatopolitics rests in the degradation of death, where in Auschwitz people did not die, rather corpses were produced, corpses without death, non-humans whose decease is debased into a matter of serial production."[77]

This kind of senseless butchery and murder can be justified both politically and morally (rather paradoxically) through the justice system (the so-called Nuremberg Trials) without any recourse to 'justice', made to be internalized as collective consciousness encoded as memory through shared common experience Remembrance Day, Armistice Day for example, where it is frowned upon if you don't wear a poppy particularly if you are a high-profile statesman (a politician), or a celebrity in public appearances on television this is then effectively passed on to future generations in the guise of ceremonies, monuments and memorials.

The purpose of this intersection and cross amalgamation is twofold; first it serves as a warning to future generations "watch it you could be next" fear is its ultimate purpose through the aegis of the victor. Secondly, it serves as a deterrent to future events, but can also be resurrected and act as a rallying cry for the next conflict into the future. A crime or a singular event of horrendous proportions serves as a template (such as the holocaust for example) this crime or event had to have a label something to attach itself to, or more importantly something to apportion blame. The term genocide, coined by lawyer Raphael Lemkin serves as good example which forms memory, memory meaning here of no origin you are required to remember the word and learn its meaning, not its origin.[78] However, amidst all the carnage and slaughter Foucault gives us a reminder of those who took part in the blood shed by the users of those who control and are ultimately responsible for the productive resources operations, through no fault of their own, in order to replicate themselves as consumers through being in the unfortunate position of belonging to the unprecedented production and reproduction system in human history; the work force.

The industrial working population which comprises the overwhelming majority of human populations anywhere in the world, in a wider context unwittingly there must be at least seen, essentially a systematic position however clandestinely operated, without disruption taking place of economic productivity and activity which still has to take place in a smooth, transitory and unfussy way. This then takes on a new meaning; Foucault offers us a chilling reminder of those who take part, through no fault of their own, in this involuntary naive complicity he introduces to us the concept of Homo economicus (economic man)

... "With regard to Homo oeconomicus, one must laisser-faire; he is the subject or object of laissez-faire. And now, in Becker's (Gary Becker[79]) definition which I have just given, Homo oeconomicus, that is to say, the person who accepts reality or who responds systematically to modifications in the variables of the environment, appears precisely as someone manageable, someone who responds systematically to systematic modifications artificially introduced into the environment. Homo oeconomicus is someone who is eminently governable. From being the intangible partner of laissez-faire, homo oeconomicus now becomes the correlate of a governmentality which will act on the environment and systematically modify its variables..."[80]

This descriptive discovery of Homo oeconomicus allowed the removal of the sovereign from economic affairs and allowed a societal conception of economic process; the so-called 'invisible hand' of the market coined by Adam Smith to be 'rationally' justified politically (it is no secret that from this period of the 18th century political representation for the industrial working population in the form of representative democracy was coming to social prominence commonly known as 'the vote'[81][82]), this would, while paradoxically, maximise the eventual target of economic liberalism for government permanently intervention to produce, multiply, and guarantee the freedoms required by economic liberalism.[83] Foucault then briefly touches on B F Skinner;[84][85][86] (the founder of radical behaviorism), and Robert Castel but unfortunately it is very brief however, in Foucault's defence, he himself does admit 'there is little literature' available in France on these techniques, however, to be critical, Foucault did belong to the most prestigious academic institutions in Europe (Collège de France) with unprecedented access to many journals[87][88][89] in France and it would be unlikely that they would be unavailable to him. This is a slight point to make but a valid one when considering that he was effectively the 'master of the archive' and was brilliant at excavating 'obscure material'[90][91]

Foucault concentrates more on neo-liberalism's political justification for state existence, rather than Skinner's techniques on controlling human behavior through controlling the mind Manuel Castells while operating in the field of social science dares to venture outside the limited field of social science which he noticed in his brilliant work Communication Power where

... "The brain and the body-proper constitute one organism connected by neural networks activated by chemical signals circulating in the blood stream and electro-chemical signals sent through nerve pathways. So, the mind proceeds by networking patterns in the brain with patterns of our sensorial perception that drive from coming into contact with the networks of matter, energy and activity that constitute our experience, past, present and future (by anticipation of consequences of certain signals according to images stored in the brain). We are networks connected to a world of networks..."[92][93][94]

It is clear then that any standard neuroscience journal[95][96][97] will show you this, it is not the body but the mind, as is often thought by Foucault and the postmodernism movement, both thought that the body (not the mind),[98] an often repeated mistake a simple mistake, but a crucial one. To get to the body the mind had to be rendered docile, not the body, this error is due to the standard social science model an incorrect view which still persist to this day, that the mind and body, the so-called mind–body problem, or in philosophical circles dualism were separate and somehow in conflict with one another which needed to be controlled (within whole populations rendering populations docile) which was what Foucault's original concept of biopower was primarily concerned with.

Foucault's lectures at the Collège de France on biopower and biopolitics[edit]

Security, Territory, Population (1977–1978)[edit]

Foucault lectured extensively from this period and was quite prolific on his general theme 'governmentality'.[99][100][101] Here, when giving an overview it may not do it justice but it is essential to give a truncated version of the most important aspects of his lectures which were first edited and course summaries provided by Michel Senellart, from actual recorded audio tapes from the lectures[102] translation of the courses was provided and published into English for the first time by Graham Burchell in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The reader is referred to a fuller and more expansive version of his lectures from this period, to read his published courses for a fuller, more expansive interpretation if they feel more justice is warranted.


Foucault's lectures at the Collège de France have just been translated and published, however, there are still seven volumes to be published to the English-speaking audience. The main focus of this section in the article are from the years 1977-1978 and 1978-1979 (see below). Foucault tries to trace the 'government of things' (as he refers to it) with its direct collaboration and correlation to modern society as it is today; starting from Niccolò Machiavelli with The Prince in 1513, where Foucault noticed that there wasn't unanimous reception over the prince.[103] The anti-Machiavellian literature wanted to replace the ability of the prince to hold on to his principality with something entirely new: an art of government.[104] Foucault then notices that this art of government were internal to society itself, not external, this type of self-government was practiced right throughout European society; such as Italy, Germany, France, etc. which was seized upon by the modern nation state from which it took up as its central practices. This is from as early as the 16th century which in due course enabled the elimination of the sovereign prince as a transcendental, singularity figure of Machiavelli's prince.

All of society was enmeshed within this process including the prince (ruler) himself, thus a century later government became political and collaborative with economy (modern political science as its 'rational' spokesman) and its partnership with political economy. Foucault further notices that political economy had a new tool called statistics founded by the Physiocrats economists[105][106] (another term for scientific government) and it is with François Quesnay that this process can be found the very notion of economic government. So, according to a text quoted by Foucault written by Guillaume de La Perrière "government is the right disposition of things arranged so as to lead a suitable end."[107] To clarify this matter further there was a general shift in this notion of 'political power' and its relationship with territory, Machiavelli's principality and judicial sovereignty (which we now know as 'legalism') as defined by political philosophers and legal theorists of the day. Statistics was just a tactic to this new kind of political power, for Foucault statistics doesn't mean counting, it means the large population which can be expanded at will within the new territory, the modern idea of this is globalisation which rather differs somewhat from Marx's conception of surplus value with its ultimate aim to produce surplus population.[108] Which simply means more human resources, larger government, bigger revenues for the state and a better 'scientific' approach to ordering of the state.

Foucault talks quite a lot on the Christian pastorate, which was unheard of in the ancient world of the Greeks and the Romans, and primarily belongs to Christianity. For Foucault the work on this is unfinished business but however, it is pivotal to Foucault's understanding of how it was possible in the past of ancient society and now modern society how they were able (both ancient and modern) to produce docile populations through the government of souls to the government of men politically, he gives an outline of just what he was able to come with in his research. First of all the shepherd flock relationship was alien to the Greeks as a political model and was an entirely a Christian invention which migrated in a modern sense as shepherd, sheep, flock relationship, which means, roughly translated in modern terms as the political electorate and the political .

Political means the institutions that are governing the rest of society; government covered by legal institutions which gives both the political electorate, political executive and political legitimacy,[109][110] Foucault traces this practice to the ancient Greek text from the Pythagoreans known as nomas (meaning the law) and according to this text the shepherd is the lawmaker, he directs the flock, indicates the right direction and says how the sheep must mate to have good offspring.[111] Foucault then reads into Robert Castel's work; The Psychiatric Order, an essential read according to Foucault, where the techniques were finally finalised during the 18th century of this absolute global project which was directed towards the whole of society.[112][113] Which was public hygiene and a whole battery of other techniques were used concerning the education of children, assistance to the poor, and through the psychiatric order, the institution of workers tutelage was coordinated through psychiatric practices. These technologies of power, Foucault claims, were introduced into the 18th century emerging prison system which migrated into the modern surveillance society through the infamous system that Jeremy Bentham tried to introduce, the Panopticon;[114] the modern internal and external surveillance system that modern society inhabits 'self watch' and 'self government'.

Foucault then interprets this self-government as modern society conception of a top-down hierarchy, creating the delusion of a sovereign who rules in perpetual in the United Kingdom for example, this system still exists today through the ancient and legal maxim the king never dies, according to Sir William Blackstone, the king survives in his successor and the right of the crown vests, eo instanti upon his heirs. Thus, according to Blackstone, which still exists in actual British legal legislator, not as legal theory but as legal reality and part of the machinery of legitimacy for the monarch as well as the monarch keeping their own private written records of conversation and advice to ministers, they are considered secret,[115] by her many advisors and cannot be released to the public. The monarch is considered immortal and has absolute right to council, privately it should be added (through the system known as Privy Council of the United Kingdom) the monarch's own personal opinion will never be known to the public which is absolute from which there is no moment in time where the throne is vacant.[116][117][118] Another rationale for the constitutional monarchy, according to British writer and historical biographer Piers Brendon is that the monarchy is part of the gigantic machinery of propaganda and mass persuasion where the role of the monarch is shrouded in mystery and unaccountability, and the role or function of the monarch is never questioned nor is any dissent tolerated and given any public airing, the main stream media's role is to present a united front and is then packaged by the media as 'the great public consensus'[119] leading to nothing more than large scale deception and fraud. Real power lies with the relatively unknown procedure known as the Royal Prerogative, not with the monarch at all.[120]

Accomplishing the unintended axiomatic affect of unaccountability, while the full focal point of a ruler is often presented unchallenged to the populace as a system of unimaginable alterations, self-perpetuating and self regularity (among those who inhabit the system), where clearly defined roles are defined and repeated right throughout the system(through norms).[121] The system can readjust itself to whatever is thrown at it (an internal firewall integral to the system where the dangerous individual can be spotted and isolated at will). This was accomplished, according to Foucault, (rather paradoxically) from power relations elsewhere from other institutions in order to analyse them from the point of view of other technologies to free them elsewhere to form new systematic institutions as new knowledge objects. Foucault traces this original practice to government practices of the Middle Ages, where the term government meant an entirely different definition as modern society knows it. For example 'enough wheat to govern Paris for two years', this covers a wide semantic view, it also refers to control of one's body, soul and behaviour, conduct, diet, the care given to an individual. Which Foucault very often refers to as 'governmentality', self conduct or self-government. Foucault traces this tactic back through history to the east (Mediterranean East, Egypt, Assyrian Empire, Babylonian etc.) which was specific to those societies. In Foucault own words this very aspect of Foucault's own work is still a work in progress, and is not a finalised research. However, Foucault situates this type of pastoral power squarely onto the new founded Christian Church where an organized religion ruled an entire society politically for 1500 years. And what was produced or outcome of all this turbulence was constant battles of supremacy for this type of pastoral power, government over men and their souls.

The Church rapidly colonized this type of new power between 11th and 18th century, and according to Foucault, the church laid claim to the daily government of men in their real lives on the grounds of their salvation and no example of this exist anywhere in history of societies.[122][123][124] Furthermore, Foucault research goes on to show that all the religious struggles from this period were fundamentally struggles over who would actually have the right to govern men, and to govern men in their daily lives they were practically struggles over who had the right to this power. Foucault then derives from this that from the 11th to the 18th century all the struggles of religion (wars of religion) were fundamentally struggles over who would actually have the right to govern men, and to govern men in their daily lives and in details and materiality of their existence; they were struggles over who has this power, from whom it derives, how it is exercised, the margin of autonomy for each, the qualification of those who exercise it, the limits of their jurisdiction, what recourse is possible against them, and what control is exercised over each. The Protestant Reformation traversed this relationship of pastorate power and what resulted from the reformation, although an historical event, was a formidable reinforcement of the pastorate system of religious power (political power in modern societies).

This type of religious power (pastoral power) was simply a reorganization of pastoral power from within, but, however, this type of reorganization of pastoral power encroached on the sovereigns (ruler) political power at the same time, it wasn't a smooth transition as is often portrayed. This led to a succession of tumultuous upheavals and revolts over this period, 11th-18th century; Norman Conquest, English Civil War, The Anarchy, Hundred Years' War, Crusades, Peasants' Revolt, Crisis of the Late Middle Ages, popular revolt in late medieval Europe. All of which are well attested too, Foucault refers to these revolts as revolts against conduct, the most radical of which were the Protestant reformation. Foucault then concludes that this political process can be traced to the general context of resistances, revolts and great insurrections of conduct (Peasants' Revolt of 1524-1526 for example).

Raison d'état (Reason of State)[edit]

Foucault concludes that these insurrections of conduct push started the transition of the pastoral of souls to the political government of men and the revolts, insurrections of conduct and resistances should be seen in this context. The new economic and consequently the political relations which the old feudal structures were unable to manage and lacked any effective framework, with which they were unable to cope. Foucault notices that the pastorate community were swamped with everyday life of individuals where it took charge of a whole series of questions and problem concerning material life, property, education of children. This led to an re-emergence of philosophy as the answer to the fundamental question of everyday life, in relation to others, in relation to those in authority, to the sovereign, or the feudal lord, and in order to direct ones mind as well, and to direct it in the right direction, to its salvation, certainly, but also to the truth.

Philosophy took over from this period; on the religious function of how to conduct oneself as a result of taking a form that wasn't specially religious or ecclesiastical. With the advent of the 16th century western society enter the age of forms of conducting, directing, and government. Foucault then considers these great upheavals of Medieval Europe as nothing else but the translation of the continuum from god to men, political institutions and the political order. Which was broken by all the upheaval that Europe had suffered. This produced a series of conflicts among those who tried to define sovereignty (not political sovereignty as we know it) but the art of government, principia naturae (reason of government) which brought in the political philosophy doctrine, known as raison d'état (reason of state).[125] By the end of the 16th century, Western society begins to define itself as territorial and expansionary with means of security as its primary focus.

Foucault reads into this that the philosophy of raison d'état having found its way into Europe through the Peace of Westphalia[126] (known as the Balance of power in modern thought);[127] this can be found in the works of Italian political philosopher Giovanni Botero[128] where Botero concluded that the state is a firm domination over peoples and to keep hold of its preservation one was expected to have knowledge of the appropriate means for founding preserving, and expanding such a domination.

This political philosophy of raison d'état was made as the chief political philosophy (with its accompanied rationality) in mainland Europe. Foucault's analysis of raison d'état (here Bogislaw Philipp von Chemnitz son of Martin von Chemnitz) writing under the pseudonym Hippolithus a Lapide first starts to query the first uses of the doctrine of raison d'état at the Treaty of Westphalia, where among the diplomatic community the doctrine starts to become popular for discussion[129]) offers interesting conclusions of this new type of power the transition of the government of souls to the government of men. This first takes place between 13th century and the 18th century, from the 16th century the subject starts to appear of an idea of perpetual peace taken from the Middle Ages idea. Which primarily belonged to the church, from the 16th century therefore, exists the idea of a 'balance of power', with few exceptions, this idea became problematic, it started or rather had to included the populace.

The solution to this problematic situation was the inclusion, within the philosophy of raison d'état, the incorporation of the populace which the machinery of the state had to govern. The government of men as Foucault refers to it, directly from the pastorate community to the transfer to the political community. Foucault then further shows that raison d'état wasn't much concerned with legality (as we know the term) but with political necessity; politics is concerned with necessity and if necessary politics must become violent lending to coup d'état; this means that it is obliged to sacrifice, to sever, cause harm, and it is led to be unjust and murderous. This produced a whole series of problematic solutions to this problem, of which the population became of primary concern, coup d'état[130][131] politics isn't the practice as we know it today. Under the auspices of the Renaissance wasn't primarily concerned with legitimacy, but survival of the state.

Foucault then tries to show only when the problem of population and security starts taking effect amongst the different practices that the consideration of population becomes a worry. Foucault then notices a point of departure pointing out the idea of sedition and revolt starts to enter texts, but 'the people' proved elusive to define all around Europe, and never entered popular discussion, at first point of juncture was the privileged titled nobles appointed and rewarded through the honours system created by the monarch and sanctioned through the legal system of the day; the entire Nobility knight's, barons, dukes, earl's and their rivals began to become seen and known as 'the people'.[132][133][134] Which was the fundamental departure between Machiavelli and Francis Bacon, the former was concerned with governing the prince's principality, the later concerned with 'the people' as a population.[135][136]


Foucault considers the breakthrough of "this governmental reasoning" of the population as a substantial event in Western history and society comparable to the scientific revolution of the 16th century.[137] Where a substantial transfer of techniques and technologies were transferred from the sovereign individual (the monarch) to a new modified apparatus known as the Disciplinary institutions, of the 18th century and its scientific representatives Carceral archipelago, Discipline and Punish (all in the space of 80 years Foucault's notices) which culminated into a new version known as nation states. This change took place in the 16th century and continued right through into the 19th century. Foucault then gives examples of this procedure through the system known as raison d'état, from this analytical view of the state by Claude Fleury,[138][139] war, raising finance, justice; there must be an abundance of men (large scale phenomena of population).

It is not the absolute number of the population that counts, but its relationship with the set composition of forces: the size of the territory, natural resources, wealth, commercial activities and so on. From Fleury's point of view, according to Foucault, the more there are of men, the stronger the state and the prince will be. So, according to Fleury, it is not expanse of land (expansion of the territory) that contributes greatness of the state but fertility and the number of men. Foucault then introduces into his Ontogenetic and, Phylogenetic investigations the concept of 'police' (see also miasma theory of disease); not the police of the criminal justice system as we know it today, but as concept known at that time as urbanization of the territory; which means making the kingdom, the entire territory into a large industrious town. Foucault then considers how Mercantilism played a big role in this new context of European balance of power; these are the mercantilist requirements: every country should try to have the largest possible population, second; the entire population be endgible and be put to work, third; wages given to the population be as low as possible, fourth; the cost price of goods at the lowest price as possible. Police according to Foucault consists of a sovereign exercise of royal power over individuals who are therefore subjects.

The actual police is the direct governmentality of the sovereign who rules through raison d'état. What Foucault means by the governmentality of the sovereign is the mind of the police runs through all of the populations, collective consciousness therefore, reducing criminality not its complete elimination, for political and economic reasons (see Discipline and Punish), not through fear, but the knowledge of the police as a system with its own structural objective as laws, judicial, legislative operating as a microcosm of the societal body, which ultimately represents the sovereigns will. Initially, however, this wasn’t the sole intention of the police as we know it where Foucault introduces the original founder of the system now known to us as the police, Nicolas Delamare[140] (Foucault doesn’t mention the real founder of the police Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie).

Foucault concentrates on how the police became an integral feature and intermingled with population, tracing the system on its foundation on how this is arranged around the composition of forces which the whole Western system of the balance of power, raison E’tat was organised and arranged around. This system consisted of an organised scientifically trained professional army,(as opposed to a private army organised around the service of the king) incorporated within this military system is Thantopolitics(Political power used through the military system for the purposes of warfare by other means) for the purposes of the slaughtering of millions of people on an industrial scale,[141][142] a system of legitimacy, comprising the sovereign, not the sovereign as a singular ruler but as an organized super structure institution comprising societal state functions, Political sovereignty which guaranteed the sovereign's legitimacy, judiciary, legislator, Parliamentary system; political power, political executive, political elite, and a political communication system which is primarily aimed at the entire political community[143][144]

And finally, the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle; the western political system of consent of the governed. This system at least gives the rationale of why it was necessary to have on board a widely disparate atomized populace; and its use, through the not widely known and little understood function of the Royal Prerogative[145][146][147] The origin of which can be traced back to the Middle Ages from where the western system of political power gets its central idea, from the point of view and simple justification of consent of the governed, legitimacy and political power. This legitimacy, which is exercised through the use of Parliamentary democracy(see also Greek government debt crisis, National unity government, European sovereign debt crisis), was essential to the western system of political power and modern government;"The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government","The people" identifies the entire body of the citizens of a jurisdiction invested with political power or gathered for political purposes'" or "Popular sovereignty or the sovereignty of the people is the political principle that the legitimacy of the state is created by the will or consent of its people, who are the source of all political power".

All of this Foucault calls the political technology of biopower. This had to have the entire population on board in terms of ‘the police’, which had an entirely different meaning from what we know it today by tracing the concept back through time from the 15th century and 16th century usage, previous thinkers meant the term as a community association governed by a public authority and political power with accountability to a public authority. By quoting Johann Heinrich Gottlob Justi “of laws and regulations that concern the interior of a state and which endeavors to strengthen and increase the power of this state and make good use of its forces".[148][149]

What Foucault reveals is that the original police had a different function as we know it today; for example one of their primary function was to administer the state in the guise of statisticians, allocating resources, supervision of grain in times of crisis, ensuring circulation of goods and men, secure the development of the state’s forces.[150] This was so successful this then led to an extension of the franchising out in the form of recruitment of the then University system. This bought in the next generation of administrators for the new ‘nation state’ system. This bought in two types of police; administrators who formed the Polizeiwissenschaft; the science of police or the science of government of the state, the other type would become known as what we know and associate the term today criminal justice system, Law enforcement, Forensic science and the modern uniformed police Polizeistaat police state, translated into English as policing of the state.[151][152]

Originally from Germany, this system spread right throughout Europe from the middle of the 17th century and most crucially, this Polizeiwissenschaft grow a substantial bibliography of this system ‘science of police’ by the 19th century. Foucault’s research shows that some 4000 different pamphlets and articles had emerged from 1520-1850 under the titles of “science of police in the broad sense” and “science of the police in the strict sense”.[153][154] This became known as Cameral science(the new modern Public administration). The future administrators for the future modern nation state system with many functions; such as bureaucrats, civil servants, Think tanks, public policy makers, economists all from the university system.


For Foucault obedience was a vital mechanism of salvation of the government, not in the form of blind loyalty, but in the form of political salvation of the state(see Oath of Allegiance for example). This led to political theorists of the day juxtaposing theories concerning state, government, body politics, and political power; these theorists dare not call these laws divine or God-made law, but instead refer to them as 'philosophical'. As in Gabriel Naudé,[155] an agent of Richelieu's, where he refers to the salvation of the state "The coup d'état does not comply with natural, universal noble and philosophical, it complies with an artificial, particular, political justice concerning the necessity of the state[156]". For Foucault, politics is not above this process which it cannot be afforded, therefore, is not something that has to fall within a remit of legality or a system of laws. Politics, according to Foucault's use of the term, is concerned with necessity, necessity of the state which puts to an end to all privileges in order to make itself obeyed by everyone. So you do not have government connected with legality, but raison d'état connected with necessity.

Foucault then touches briefly on the theatrical practice of raison d'état and its prevalence over legitimacy. Which would be rather ironical as this is the main problem of theatrical practice in politics, which was in reality the practice of raison d'état. The theatre where this is played out in the form of dramatization and a constant mode of manifestation of the state and the sovereign as the holder of state power. Thus, for Foucault analysis this contrasts differently with and in opposition to traditional ceremonies of royalty which from anointment to coronation up to the entry into towns or major cities or iconic, famous funerals of infamous monarchs, this marked the religious association of the sovereign, or at least the sovereign's alliance with the character and association with religious power and theology. This, Foucault notices was William Shakespeare's main intention where the political representation (modern representation of this is media visual representation of political power, political consultants, image makers (media consultants), and 'power politics' and its constant fixation with voting and leading political personalities) of the sovereign Henry V for example was a part of historical drama, although based on real people and events, but for all intents and purposes was political representation in the form of plots, intrigues, disgraces, preferences, exclusions, good guys and bad guys and political exiles, where the theatre represents the state itself.

Foucault now turns his attention to obedience and the population and why this was a problem among political theorists of the times. He then produces Francis Bacon's text "Of Seditions and Troubles". In this essay Bacon gives a complete description on the physics of sedition, sedition and the precautions to be taken against it, and of government of the 'people'. This became a worry for Bacon and other political theorists; the first signs of sedition were circulation of libels, pamphlets and discourse against the state and those who govern. Second, Bacon notices the reversal of values or evaluations which puts the existence at risk. Weakness in the chain of command. Foucault reads into Bacon the theory of revolt of the people and there are two categories of individuals within the state, the common people (very often referred in text as Peasants, the People, the Common people, the poor, or at times Vagabond vagrants) and the nobility, what differentiates the common people and the nobility is their unshared interest.

They do not have any common interest between the two groups in Bacon's view the common people are too slow to engage in revolt and sedition. But if the common people and the nobility ever unite and become one unit they represent a threat to the sovereign's rule. A slow people and a weak nobility (because of their small number) mean that sedition can be prevented and discontents stopped from contaminating each other. Bacon then views the process of the danger of sedition where you can either buy the nobility or you can execute them.[157] The problem of the common people becomes a different matter, they are not easily bought. So Bacon himself offers a whole series of measures and reforms that should be implemented, reducing the rate of interest, avoiding excessively large estates, increased wages, promoting external trade increasing the value of raw materials through work, and assuring provisions of transport to foreign countries.

While the differences between Bacon and Machiavelli appear subtle, it was 250 years later that the political model of reforms changed, why? Foucault wasn't much interested into the notion of reform as 'cure', but what was behind the underlying mechanism that was driving the system of reform ensuring reforms become a permanent feature of 'failure'. Foucault begins to trace through this development through the political model of reform and one crucial development was the economy, a politics of economic calculation with Mercantilism and for Foucault this was not just a theory but was above all else a political practice. The invention of the political campaign which Foucault traces back through its original modern founder, Cardinal Richelieu, who according to Foucault actually invented the modern political campaign by means of lampoons and pamphlets and more importantly, invented those professional manipulators of opinion who were called at the time publicistes.[158][159]

Thus, for Foucault raison d'état must always act on the collective consciousness of the population, not only to impose some true or false belief on them, as when, for example, sovereigns want to create belief in their own legitimacy or in illegitimacy of their rivals, but in such away that the collective opinion can be modified along with their behaviour as economic and political subjects. The main function of public opinion is to produce a politics of believable truth within raison d'état.[160] The most obvious example of all this is that propaganda, in its political sense has a twofold objective: 1, The main function of public opinion is to produce an emergence, alliance between political propaganda and a belief system of politics of truth within collective consciousness, a version of political continuity within raison d’Etat, this practice of political reform, while ensuring that the essential features of the system remain intact, gets passed on to future generations ensuring failure.[161] 2, The other main political purposes of propaganda is to make sure that the chaos of modern living becomes accepted as the norm therefore, rendering whole swathes of society useless (through cultural practices), in its objectives to do anything about it. You can do something about it, but only within the rules of a political tool, even within the confines of political buffoons who appear to have no hold or control of the system that they are in charge of.

This political tool is soiled and rigged against those who use it and cannot be used for practical change but its power comes from those who gives comfort to those who use it in the hope of a false belief of change can happen leaving the practicalities of the system as ‘real’ events. This, Foucault notices produced two consensus correlations namely; birth of economists, birth of the ‘’publicistes’’ known as economy and public opinion the two correlative elements of field of reality that is emerging as the direct correlate of government.[162][163][164]


Mercantilism, according to Foucault, was the first rationalization of the exercise of power as a practice of government; it is the first time that a knowledge of the state can be employed as tactics for the state, namely statistics. Foucault begins to chart through this historical, political reasoning behind the doctrine raison d'état (reason of state). The time of the Middle Ages where the idea existed of an indefinite permanent character of political power and government. This perpetual discourse, the idea of progress in men's knowledge about themselves and towards others, however, one thing was internally missing from this analysis, namely the notion of population. Foucault traces the conceptual discourse of the populace back to the Middle Ages definition of the pastorate which to the Middle Ages mind meant salvation, obedience and truth. First of all the discourse of raison d'état and salvation; Foucault manages to trace conceptually the system of salvation through the 17th century usage of coup d'état politics. Foucault notices that entire treatise were devoted to the very notion of coup d'état, for example a text written in 1639 by Gabriel Naudé, entitled Considerations sur les coups d'etat and writing in 1631 Foucault sites Jean Sirmond Le Coup d’Estat de Louis XIII.[165][166]

For at the beginning of the 17th century the term "coup d'état" did not in any way signify someone's seizure of the state at the cost of those who had previously held it and are dispossessed. The general opinion of the day (17th century) in political thought was a suspension of, or a departure from laws and legality. William King's 1711 translation of Gabriel Naudé's work with which coup d'état is translated as "master stroke of state". There was a whole series of different meanings, not in a series of different ways of governing the state, but finding a way or system of legality or legitimacy which by no way was homogeneous. Salvation here means not 'the people' or the ones being governed, but the salvation of the state, its legitimacy and those who have to respect the law. Coup d'état politics was a technical device to ensure legality, legitimacy of the sovereign and legality of the laws of territory and those who were to be governed through raison d'état and is fundamental with regards to those laws, but it makes use of this in its usual functioning precisely because it deems them necessary or useful.

In Foucault's analysis of this aspect of salvation of the state it is necessary that the state should push aside the civil, moral, and natural laws that it previously wanted to recognize and had to incorporate it into its legal structural system. Foucault's conclusion is that the modern nation state can be traced back to these very ancient, historical practices of which coup d'état and therefore, is an assertion of raison d'état and a self-manifestation of the state. The state itself is above any law, and must remain so, not if it wants to maintain its own salvation.

The Birth of Biopolitics (1978–1979)[edit]

..."What is this neo-liberalism? The problem of neo liberalism is rather how the overall exercise of political power can be modeled on the principles of a market economy. So it is not a question of freeing an empty space, but of taking the formal principles of a market economy and referring and relating them to, of projecting them on a general art of government"...[167]

For Foucault, biopolitics isn't the acidic, human nature, political animal of Aristotle determined version which results in politic behaviour by human beings; therefore making politic life normal and accepted by political analysis and is above any further rational scrutiny so often portrayed by such writers as James H. Fowler and Albert Somit, biopolitics for Foucault is political power exercised on whole populations in every aspect of human life.[168] Foucault then offers rather tentative, slow and at times brilliant analysis of the basic definition of the practices of neo-liberalism art of government. Foucault then tries to redefine the boundaries set by liberalism thought on this matter, while it still defines neo-liberalism objectives as fundamentally the same, the fundamental principles still remain the same; namely the doctrine of raison d'état now becomes embroiled with limiting the state actors powers where they become hostages to their own fate. Limiting the exercise of government power internally, this can mean several meanings, but Foucault concentrates on the monetary aspect of government as a point of concern, frugal government, the art of maximum and a minimum and between the total opposite minimum and maximum.[169]

Foucault looks at the early institutional practices of this method of frugal government, which starts from the early Middle Ages right down to the early 16th and 17th centuries. The market appears from the early Middle Ages where the function of interest on money lending was strictly prohibited; one of the reasons being that the church was the main institution lending money at interest on church property where rental income was charged on church property a primary source of income for the church and it would have brought down the price of the church rental income if faced with rival competitors (Marx goes into more detail on this in Capital Vol III). Justification, according to Foucault, for the market was justice which was why the market existed in the first place. But, what was meant by justice? Foucault offers this explanation; it was a site of justice in the sense that the sale price fixed in the market was seen, both by theorist and in practice, as a just price, or at any rate a price that should be the just price, which meant to the theorists of the day a price that was to have a certain relationship with work performed, with the needs of the merchants, and of course, with the consumers needs and possibilities.[170]

The next general theme Foucault then introduces to the lectures is the German Ordoliberalism, the Freiburg School which produced general problems among themselves, namely the state apparatus and its reconstruction after the Second World War. This general theme led to neo-liberalism heavy reliances on the law obviously, but it too, had to produce a new kind of consensus and a rearrangement consensus between the general populace; the working population, those engaged in production. This general or collective consensus produced 'economic partners' in this so-called 'economic game',[171] such as; investors, employers, government officials, work force, and trade union officials. Foucault then offers some explanation on what was the reasoning behind this consensus between all these so-called different economic partners. According to Foucault this produced another kind of consensus, which was political power of the electoral community, not the political power of the right to vote, but the right of the political community to exchange seats, a rearrangement of the very relations of the so-called change of 'government' which gives and protects legitimacy. Which becomes political consensus, inasmuch as the 'economic partners 'accept the economic game of freedom. This is very much on neo-liberalism agenda, which according to Foucault was exactly the agenda that neo-liberalism required.

A strong Deutschmark, a satisfactory rate of economic growth, increased wages, an expanding purchasing power, and a favorable balance of payments which became a by product of the effects of good government. Foucault then reads into this that in contemporary German which was in reality a founding consensus of the state. Foucault then notices that this formation of a liberal type of governmentality had general shifts within this circle which can be traced back to the 18th century old or classical liberalism programmed by the Physiocrats, Turgot, and the other economists of the 18th century, for whom the problem was the exact opposite. The problem that neo-liberalism had to resolve was the following: given the existence of a legitimate state, which is fully functional under the police state (see Security, Territory, Population) with all its administration form of police state, how can this be limited within the existing state and, above all, allow for the necessary economic freedom within it.

For Foucault this was the exact opposite because after the Second World War, the war machine that was unleashed was due to the fact that the system of economic rationality had completely broken down and the organisational network of world trade (world trade starting period 1870) and its accompanied trade settlement system had completely become untenable in which trust in the final payment settlement system had completely vanished, settlements of payment of trade were never met; they were simply not paid, therefore initiating the military machine and the Carl von Clausewitz dream "War is the continuation of politics by other means" precipitating the systematic slaughtering of millions.[172][173]

Policy of society[edit]

Another theme Foucault concentrates on is the neo-liberalism conception of social effects, Gesellschaftspolitik, known in English, from the German, as the policy of society,[174][175][176] this policy of society addresses the general or whole consensus of society. But this Gesellschaftspolitik had a two sided inconsistency, it had to produce the willing actors who take part in the economic process to accept the reality of their economic position and therefore their fate. The working population or labor force, the ones involved in production, madness, disease, medicine, delinquency, sexuality, but somehow, none of these faults/errors never existed before practices were involved and invented to become part of collective consciousness within practices. Foucault deals with this problem as necessary intrinsic operations of government which inextribably can produce regimes of truth (Foucault means regimes of truth as necessary social practices which become necessary objects of knowledge).

The ability to extrapolate a collective of co-ordinate errors becoming co-ordinated practices which become something that did not exist in the first place, but now becomes established systems of knowledge objects.[177][178] The political regimes of truth (political power upon every aspect of human social life), the battle between legitimacy, submitting to a fabricated division between true and false. Foucault begins to try to trace back through time how this was at all possible, Foucault manages this task by reading into the set of practices interwoven into the policy of society, this was accomplished from the 16th until the 18th century where there was a whole set of practices of tax levies, customs, charges, manufacture regulations, regulations of grain prices, the protection and codification of market practices, etc.

This was well conceived by the exercise of sovereign rights, feudal rights, as the maintenance of customs, as effective procedure of enrichment for the financial administration of the general sovereign or the tax authorities, or as techniques for preventing urban revolt due to the discontent of this or that group of subjects.[179] Foucault takes a look at these general practices through looking at the economic practices involved from the 18th century (where Mercantilism was at its peak) where a coherence strategy established an intelligible mechanism which provided a coherent link, together these different practices and their effects, and consequently allows one to judge all these practices as good or bad, not in terms of a law or moral principle, but in terms of propositions subject to the false dichotomy between true and false. Governments, Foucault noticed, were compelled to enter this competitive environment, by doing so entering into new regimes of truth with the fundamental effect of reconfiguring all the questions formally beset by the art of government.

Foucault now turns his attention to ordoliberalism's view on social policy and how this can be woven into society's political power which differentates from Adam Smith's liberalism two centuries earlier. This problem was faced head on by ordoliberalism; how can the overall exercise of political power be modeled on the principles of a market economy? To accomplish this the old version of classic liberalism had to be subjected to a whole series of modifications. The first set of transformations was the dissociation of the market economy from the political principle of laissez-faire, this uncoupling of the market and laissez-faire was replaced with, not abandon by a theory of pure competition which produced a formal structure and formal properties which could lay the fundamental principle of the compective structure that assured economic regulation through the price mechanism. This break from traditional liberalism principles, founded by Walter Lippmann and expressed by such others as Jacques Rueff, Wilhelm Röpke, Alexander Rüstow, Friedrich Hayek, Robert Marjolin, Ludwig von Mises, and their intermediaries and a non-economist, but however, was highly influential, according to Foucault Raymond Aron.

All of these people set up a committee, a highly influential think tank called CERL[clarification needed][180] they produced a set of interesting pamphlets which were produced throughout the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s which wanted to established the principles of economic liberalism and the price mechanism, by maintaining a contractual regime of production and exchange which did not exclude intervention arising from the duties of the state, and according to them, contrast differently from the so-called 'planned economy' of the former Soviet Union. How would neo-liberalism define the new governmental action? Foucault traces three examples which neo-liberalism call a conformable economic action; firstly the question of monopolies which they claimed differed somewhat from classic liberalism.

The classic conception of the economy as the monopoly seen as somehow semi-neutral, semi-necessary consequence of the competition in a capitalist system. The neo-liberal dream of competition cannot be left to develop without monopolistic phenomena appearing at the same time which precisely have the effect of limiting attenuating and given nullifying competition. This would eventually have the effect, of suppressing the operation of mechanism that facilitate, bring with them, and hopefully determine its eventual destiny. However, Foucault notices specific problems began to emerge for neo-liberalism, not only specific to neo-liberalism was how to incorporate civil society, political power; and Homo oeconomicus into a non-substitutable, irreducible atom of interest. Foucault makes the starting point of his investigations into this process from the 18th century where Homo oeconomicus (this problem still persists to this day) has to be integrated into the system of which he is a part, and this is crucial, into the economic domain, not by transfer, subtraction, or dialectic of renunciation, but by a dialectic of spontaneous multiplication.[181]

Civil society[edit]

The concept Homo oeconomicus had specific problems being interwoven into the new-found economic process of the 18th century. Foucault manages to trace this anomaly through the subject of right (known as consent of the governed the theory of right of that legal theorists of the 18th century tried to establish during their legal discourse) which did receive a great deal of attention because of what was perceived at the time of problems regarding the sovereign's power. The subject of right had to perform slight modifications because of the implication of him (the subject of right) limiting the sovereign's power. Which certainly differed from classical liberalism's conception of the sovereign power, which from the 16th century was conceived of as impenetrable to any rational discourse. The sovereign was conceived of as absolute, but the discovery of the people, subject of rights, homo oeconomicus, changed all that because of the arrival of market practices (the market system of capitalism) from the 18th century. Even the Physiocrats insisted that the market, the sovereign had to really respect the market.

How could this new problematic of liberalism, the sovereign, the market, and the new-found political power, homo oeconomicus which economic activity had at least specific patterns of correlation could be moulded into one tight unit? Foucault seeks the answer to this with a new field of reference, civil society.[182][183] Foucault answers this question on the process of how to govern through governmental technology, the new neo-liberals, economic liberals sought to have a heterogeneity of the economic and the judicial which must be pegged to an economy understood as process of production and exchange. Foucault then tries to enhanced the general theme and tries to show the mixed conflagration of the legal and economic theorists and those who propagate the theory of right (consent of the governed) through political philosophy and political science which was a battle for a judicial political project. Civil society,[184] according to Foucault's analysis, must place particular attention to its correlation of technology of government, the rational measure of which must be judicially pegged to an economy understood as the process of production and exchange.[185]

What made this version of civil society tick? Foucault makes the amalgamation of civil society into society (as we know it) which at the end of the 18th century became known as the nation (now known to us as the nation state).[186] This became omnipresent, nothing was allowed to escape, which was to conform to the rules of right (consent of the governed), and a government which nevertheless respects the specificity of the economy, will be a government that manages civil society, the nation, society, and the social. Foucault continues the theme on Homo oeconomicus which became part and parcel to this feature, Homo oeconomicus and civil society were two inseparable features and belonged to the same ensemble of the technology of liberal governmentality. For Foucault this was no mere coincidence, since the 19th century, civil society has always been referred to in political philosophy discourse as a fixed reality, which according to this theory, was outside of government or the state or state apparatuses or institutions. This omnipresent has many characteristics and one its main features are a primary and immediate reality which forms part of modern governmental technology.

Foucault views this governmental characteristic as simply the direct correlation of modern society's direct association with madness, disease, sexuality, criminal recidivism and criminal delinquency which he calls transactional realities. Although civil society, along with its associated governmental technologies haven't always existed they are nonetheless real, by real he simply means the power dynamic and their interplay with the rest of society in which all those involved (which is pretty much all of society) everything within it constantly eludes them, at the interface so to speak of those who are governed and those who govern. It is in Foucault's insightful analysis where he makes four important points on this governmental modern technology of biopolitics; an absolute correlative to the form of governmental technology which liberalism associated itself with, and it is pegged, tied to the specificity of economic process.

How were all three incorporated into rational liberalism philosophical discourse? Foucault cites the well-known texts of Adam Ferguson: Essay on the History of Civil Society; from the 18th century to show how liberalism approached this problem from different angles and Adam Smith and his own infamous text The Wealth of Nations which complement one another with regards civil society. First: there is a political and social correlate in terms of civil society. Second, civil society as principle of spontaneous synthesis; third, civil society as permanent matrix of political power; and fourth, civil society as the motor element that drives human history.[187][188]

Foucault's audio tape lectures at the Collège de France[edit]

Michel Foucault: Audio Archive Audio Tapes of Society Must Be Defended, Security, Territory, Population and The Birth of Biopolitics in the original French translation Lectures at the Collège de France

Society Must Be Defended (1975–1976)[edit]

Security, Territory, Population (1977–1978)[edit]

The Birth of Biopolitics (1978–1979)[edit]

Accessed 14 July 2011

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michel Foucault The History of Sexuality Vol 1 p. 140 (1976)
  2. ^ Michel Foucault: Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France 1977-1978 pp. 1–4; see notes on p. 24, notes, 1–4 (2007)
  3. ^ Michel Foucault: Society Must Be Defended Lectures at the Collège de France 1975-1976 p. 243 (2003)
  4. ^ Michel Foucault, (1998) The History of Sexuality Vol. 1: The Will to Knowledge. London: Penguin
  5. ^ Amedeo Policante. "War against Biopower: Timely Reflections on an Historicist Foucault", Theory & Event, 13. 1 March 2010
  6. ^ Michel Foucault The History of Sexuality Vol. 1: The Will to Knowledge. London: Penguin. p. 140 (1998)
  7. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 1 (2007)
  8. ^ Nature Vol 490 p. 309 2012
  9. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 377-378 2007
  10. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 378 2007
  11. ^ Security, Territory, Population see also note 71 p. 397 2007
  12. ^ The History Of Sexuality Vol 1 p. 139 1976
  13. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 363-391 2007
  14. ^ Society Must Be Defended pp. 239-264 (2003)
  15. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 363-401 2007
  16. ^ "The state of monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth, for kings are not only God's lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God's throne, but even by God himself they are called gods. There be three principal [comparisons] that illustrate the state of monarchy: one taken out of the word of God, and the two other out of the grounds of policy and philosophy. In the Scriptures kings are called gods, and so their power after a certain relation compared to the Divine power. Kings are also compared to fathers of families; for a king is truly parens patriae [parent of the country], the politic father of his people. And lastly, kings are compared to the head of this microcosm of the body of man" James VI and I A speech to The Houses Of Parliament (1610)
  17. ^ "I conclude then this point touching the power of kings with this axiom of divinity, that as to dispute what God may do is blasphemy . . . so is it sedition in subjects to dispute what a king may do in the height of his power. But just kings will ever be willing to declare what they will do, if they will not incur the curse of God. I will not be content that my power be disputed upon, but I shall ever be willing to make the reason appear of all my doings, and rule my actions according to my laws First, that you do not meddle with the main points of government; that is my craft . . . to meddle with that, were to lessen me.I am now an old king.I must not be taught my office: Secondly, I would not have you meddle with such ancient rights of mine as I have received from my predecessors, possessing them more (as ancestral customs): such things I would be sorry should be accounted for grievances. All novelties are dangerous as well in a politic as in a natural body, and therefore I would be loath to be quarrelled in my ancient rights and possessions: for that were to judge me unworthy of that which my predecessors had and left me." James 1 A speech to Parliament 1610
  18. ^ A declaration which offences shall be adjudged treason (25 Edw 3 St 5 c 2) 1351 "When a man does compass or imagine the death of our lord the king, or of our lady his Queen, or their eldest son and heir."
  19. ^ For an excellent account of this legislation see John Barrell Imagining The Kings Death Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide, 1793-1796 (2000)
  20. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 16 2007
  21. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 55-86 2007
  22. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 1-27 2007
  23. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 163-190 2007
  24. ^ Foucault has been criticized recently on his version of social power for having a rather too 'Eurocentric' view on modern power; for example numerous studies have tried to show that power, from Foucault's perspective, was not from 'within' Europe and then disbursed to the outside world (to be fair Foucault makes no mention of an outward nor inward model). An excellent example of this is China who had the first multi state system known as the Zhong Guo system (central states), around 707 BCE the first diplomatic conferences first emerge and the first balance of power solution to political power 2700 years before the west had ever thought of the treaty of Westphalia. China and Historical Capitalism: Genealogies of Sinological Knowledge Edited By Timothy Brook, Gregory Blue 2002
  25. ^ War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe Victoria Tin-bor Hui 2005
  26. ^ Michel Foucault: Society Must Be Defended Lectures at the Collège de France 1975-1976 p. 243 (2003)
  27. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 5 2007
  28. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 29-53 2007
  29. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 311-332 2007
  30. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 191-226 p. 218 n7 2007
  31. ^ Foucault considers both terms-dispositif and apparatus-as interchangeable and structured heterogeneously with both elements as a genesis highly influential by a strategic objective here is Foucault's own words on the matter in response to questions posed by Alain Grosrichard' also present were Jacques Lacan's disciple, psychoanalyst Jacques-Alain Miller, Judith Miller among others. "What I’m trying to pick out with this term is, firstly, a thoroughly heterogeneous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions–in short, the said as much as the unsaid. Such are the elements of the apparatus. The apparatus itself is the system of relations that can be established between these elements. Secondly, what I am trying to identify in this apparatus is precisely the nature of the connection that can exist between these heterogeneous elements. Thus, a particular discourse can figure at one time as the programme of an institution, and at another it can function as a means of justifying or masking a practice which itself remains silent, or as a secondary re-interpretation of this practice, opening out for it a new field of rationality. In short, between these elements, whether discursive or non-discursive, there is a sort of interplay of shifts of position and modifications of function which can also vary very widely. Thirdly, I understand by the term “apparatus” a sort of–shall we say–formation which has as its major function at a given historical moment that of responding to an urgent need. The apparatus thus has a dominant strategic function. This may have been, for example, the assimilation of a floating population found to be burdensome for an essentially mercantilist economy: there was a strategic imperative acting here as the matrix for an apparatus which gradually undertook the control or subjection of madness, sexual illness and neurosis". Michel Foucault Power/Knowledge Chapter 11 The Confession Of The Flesh pp. 194-195 1980
  32. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 115-134 2007
  33. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 333-361 2007
  34. ^ Albert Somit and Steven A Peterson Darwinism, Dominance and Democracy: The Biological Basis of Authoritarianism (1997)
  35. ^ The Sociobiology of Democracy: Is Authoritarianism in Our Genes? Review Essay for Politics and Life Sciences, 19: pp. 103-108 2002
  36. ^ FV 19 24 Department Of Energy Correspondence With National Coal Board (NCB) On Long Term Manpower In The Coal Industry 1968 National Archives 1968
  37. ^ FV 19 35 Full Census Of Production 1968 Electricity Industry UK National Archives 1968
  38. ^ FV 22 104 Chrysler Motor Corporation Volume 2 National Archives 1975
  39. ^ One interesting letter which deserves full mention here is a letter written by the movie actor John Wayne to the then presidential nominee movie actor Ronald Reagan in 1977 "I'll show you point by god damn point in the treaty where you are misinforming people. If you continue these erroneous remarks, someone will publicize your letter to prove that you are not as thorough in your reviewing of the Treaty as you say you are or damned obtuse when it comes to reading the English language. Quite obviously you are useing the Panama Canal Treaty as a teaser to attract contributions to our party (Republican). I know of our party's need for money; but if you your attitude in order to get it is as untruthful and misleading as your letter, we haven't a chance." Craig Allen Smith The White House Speaks: Presidential Leadership As Persuasion p. 110 (1994) The letter refers to the Panama Canal Treaty negotiations but was interesting was that Reagan and his advisers (in this case Philip Crane) were manipulating the uninformed on policy toward the treaty and sort the vote of 'the grade school' who did not receive any further education beyond grade school regarding the treaty therefore confirming their ignorance. The White House Speaks: Presidential Leadership As Persuasion pp. 101-132 1994
  40. ^ Science 335 pp. 79-82 2012
  41. ^ Science 335 pp. 108-111 2012
  42. ^ " Many people believe that behavioral characteristics such as personality or intelligence are determined primarily, if not exclusively, either by heredity or environment. This belief, known as the nature-nurture controversy, has been with us for quite a long period of time and is the cause for much that is sorrowful and tragic in human history (e.g., the notion that some groups are behaviorally inferior or superior to other groups because of hereditary/genetic predispositions). The idea that genes are primarily responsible for some traits and that the environment is primarily responsible for other traits is now known to be scientifically invalid. This has been a hard won scientific insight that has not yet percolated down to the mass of humanity. It is now known that both genes and environments are involved in all traits and that it is not possible to specify their respective weighting or quantitative influence on any trait." International Encyclopedia Of The Social and Behavioral Sciences Volume 9 pp. 6119-6127 2001
  43. ^ "All humans belong to a single species and share a common descent, there is great genetic diversity in all human populations, and no human group enjoys a monopoly on the traits that allow for humans to be a successful species. Nor, because of the way genes, adaptation and evolution operate, was it ever true that there were(or are)“master races”or even“superior races”: environments-change,and what is advantageous at one time and place will not necessarily always be so. Genetic determinism is thus false end should be avoided. Perhaps there is no need to stress that point, given the excesses of Nazism and other genocidal ideologies; “genetic determinism”is deservedly often used as an epithet. Genes and other biological factors produce organisms, but they do not determine them. The sound bite version is: we may be 100% genetic, but we’re not 100% determined." Frontiers In Evolutionary Genetics 02 January 2013
  44. ^ Terence Qualter Opinion Control In The Democracies pp. 1-29 1985
  45. ^ Opinion Control In The Democracies pp. 30-52 1985
  46. ^ Opinion Control In The Democracies pp. 107-145 1985
  47. ^ The Birth Of Biopolitics pp. 27-50 2008
  48. ^ The Birth Of Biopolitics pp. 1-25 2008
  49. ^ The Birth Of Biopolitics pp. 159-184, pp. 267-289, pp. 291-316 2008
  50. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 255-283 2007
  51. ^ Science 5903 pp. 892-914 2008
  52. ^ Cultural Neuroscience Cultural Influences On Brain Function pp. 287-304 2009
  53. ^ Nature 485 pp. 23-26 2012
  54. ^ Nature 485 pp. 27-29 2012
  55. ^ Nature 485 pp. 31-35 2012
  56. ^ Evolutionary Anthropology 21 pp. 96-100 June 2012
  57. ^ Serge Lang Challenges pp. 1-222 See Chapter Academia, Journalism, and Politics: A Case Study: The Huntington Case (Serge Lang refers to his dispute with Samuel P. Huntington at the National Academy of Sciences) (1998)
  58. ^ The Concept of Power, Behavioral Science, 2:3 (1957)
  59. ^ Power A Radical View Steven Lukes 1974
  60. ^ Power: A New Social Analysis Bertrand Russell 1938
  61. ^ Analytical Marxism and Foucault's Theory of 'Disciplinary Power
  62. ^ The History of Sexuality Volume 1 p. 137
  63. ^ Morley Roberts Biopolitics: an essay in the physiology, pathology and politics of the social and somatic organism 1938
  64. ^ See Rudolf Kjellén Stormakterna (The Great Powers) (1905) and Staten som lifsform (The State as Life Form) (1916)
  65. ^ Walter Bagehot Physics and Politics pp. 27-64 (1872)
  66. ^ Jakob von Uexküll State biology, Anatomy, physiology, pathology of the state (1920)
  67. ^ A Conceptual History of Biopolitics: The Notion of Biopolitics Before Foucault
  68. ^ "Biology and Political Behavior: The Brain, Genes and Politics - the Cutting Edge" Research In Biopolitics Volume 9 (2011)
  69. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics
  70. ^ Review article: "Biopolitics" B.J.Pol.S., 2: 209-238 (1972)
  71. ^ B.J.Pol.S (1972)
  72. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics p. 319 (2008)
  73. ^ Thanatopolitics: Reading in Agamben a Rejoinder to Biopolitical Life
  74. ^ The Labor of the Multitude and the Fabric of Biopolitics
  75. ^ Jessica Auchter Thanatopolitics: Language, Naming, and the Right to Memorialize (2010)
  76. ^ Thanatopolitics: On the Use of Death for Mobilizing Political Life (2005)
  77. ^ Thanatopolitics: Language, Naming, and the Right to Memorialize (2010)
  78. ^ Thanatopolitics: Language, Naming, and the Right to Memorialize (2010)
  80. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 270-271 (2008)
  81. ^ "We the Peoples? The Birth and Premature Death of Self-Determination"
  82. ^ The statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland An Act to amend the Representation of the People in England and Wales pp. 154-206 (1832)
  83. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 268-286 (2008)
  84. ^ B. F. Skinner "cles/PMC1348231/pdf/jeabehav00047-0109.pdf "Some thoughts about the future" J Exp Anal Behav. 1986 March; 45(2): 229–235
  85. ^ B. F. Skinner "Some issues concerning the control of human behavior" Science 1956 Vol 124(3231) pp. 1057-1066
  86. ^ B. F. Skinner "Some factors involved in the stimulus control of operant behavior" Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior January 1958; 1(1): 103-107
  87. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics (2008) p. 132; see note 2 p. 151
  88. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics p. 138
  89. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 142-144
  90. ^ The Oxford Companion to Philosophy: Editor Ted Honderich p. 310 (2005)
  91. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics p. 270 (2008)
  92. ^ Manuel Castells Communication Power pp. 138-139 (2009)
  93. ^ Communication Power pp. 137-193 (2009)
  94. ^ Volume 60(2) June 2010 pp. E1-E5
  95. ^ "Operant Conditioning as a Means of Testing the Ability of White-Crowned Sparrows To Discriminate Star Patterns" J. Exp. Biol. 1972 56: 755-768
  96. ^ "Social domination increases neuronal survival in the brain of juvenile crayfish Procambarus clarkii" J. Exp. Biol. 2007 210: 1311-1324
  97. ^ "The Structural Basis of an Innate Behavioural Pattern" J. Exp. Biol. 1984 112: 283-319
  98. ^ "Technics and the Human Sensorium: Rethinking Media Theory through the Body", Theory & Event Volume 13, Issue 4, 2010
  99. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 87-115 (2007)
  100. ^ Security, Territory, Population (2007) pp. 363-367
  101. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 369-401 (2007)
  102. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. xiii-xvii (2007)
  103. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 87-114 (2008)
  104. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 92-109 (2008)
  105. ^ Foucault makes mention the infamous group for this 'scientific state apparatus' the Physiocrats Security, Territory, Population pp. 33-49 2007
  106. ^ Foucault mentions an important figure from this period which, according to Foucault was highly influential a Physiocrat economist Louis Paul Abeille Security, Territory, Population p. 30 pp. 50-52; see notes n. 1 p. 50, n. 17, p. 52 2007
  107. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 96 (2008)
  108. ^ Biopolitics: from Surplus Value to Surplus Life Miguel Vatter Roberto Esposito Biopolitics: from Surplus Value to Surplus Life Miguel Vatter Roberto Esposito(2008)
  109. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 135-161 (2008)
  110. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 142-149 (2008)
  111. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 137-140 (2008)
  112. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 117-119 (2008)
  113. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 10-14 (2008)
  114. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 117, p. 131; see notes 7 and 8 (2007)
  115. ^ "The oath states that the swearer: ‘…shall, in all things to be moved, treated and debated in Council, faithfully and truly declare your mind and opinion according to your heart and conscience; and shall keep secret all matters committed and revealed unto you or that shall be treated of secretly in Council. And if any of the said Treaties or Counsels shall touch any of the Counsellors, you will not reveal it unto him but will keep the same until such time as, by the consent of Her Majesty, or the Council, Publication shall be made thereof.’" Cabinet Office Review Of The 30 Year Rule 19th March 2008
  116. ^ Halsbury: Laws of England pp. 3-7 Fourth Edition Volume 12(1) Crown and Royal Family (1973-1987)
  117. ^ Cabinet Office Review of the 30 Year Rule 19 March 2008
  118. ^ Review of the 30 Year Rule: Evidence from David Owen 14 April 2008
  119. ^ "This response covers considerations that the Cabinet Office believes are relevant to Royal information. This response also reflects the views of the intelligence agencies. It is a fundamental constitutional principle that communications between the Sovereign and her Ministers and other public bodies are confidential in nature. This is so because the Sovereign has the right and the duty to counsel, encourage and warn her Government. The Queen is thus entitled to have opinions on government policy and to express them to her Ministers, but she is constitutionally bound to accept and act on the advice of her Ministers. Any communications which have preceded the giving of that advice remain confidential, because of the need to maintain the political neutrality of the Monarchy in public affairs; this itself is fundamental to the UK system of constitutional monarchy. The Sovereign remains in office for life, and the current reign is now in its 57th year. It will remain a matter of constitutional sensitivity if the Monarch expressed particular views on a policy or a personality long after the policy has been implemented (and may even have been superseded), or the personality has ceased to hold the relevant office. Communications between the Sovereign and Government Ministers, including those between their respective Private Secretaries, which refer to such matters will remain sensitive during the lifetime and possibly even after the death of the Sovereign. Communications between the Heir to the Throne and Government Ministers, including those between their respective Private Secretaries, may also be sensitive. This is particularly true for communications which reference the views of The Heir to the Throne, where such views are not already in the public domain, and, if so, should remain confidential. In the same way as for Her Majesty it is important that The Heir to The Throne is distanced from controversial party-political debate. Any fixed timescale set for the release of records will, in some sense, be arbitrary and unable fully to reflect the unique position of the Monarchy’s role within and interaction with Government, and the potential longevity of sensitivities. This is well illustrated by the current reign, which far exceeds the boundaries of the current 30 Year Rule. It is important that the constitutional position and fundamental principles of the Monarchy and its records are maintained, with no assumption of release at a fixed period." Cabinet Office Review Of The 30 Year Rule 19th March 2008
  120. ^ Piers Brendon The Windsors A Dynasty Revealed 1917-2000 2000
  121. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 11-13 (2007)
  122. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 191-226 (2008)
  123. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 227-253 (2008)
  124. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 232-253 (2008)
  125. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 1-25 (2008)
  126. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 285-310 (2008)
  127. ^ Foucault mentions the term as it was known then, Balance of Europe; however, the word 'Europe' was an entirely new concept in 17th century Europe, it had no basis nor meaning to thinkers of political thought from this period but the term balance of Europe and whose chief political architect and origin of the term can be found in the works of Francesco Guicciardini. The other 'scientific' proponent of the idea of balance of Europe can be found in the works of none other than mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz "What is the balance of Europe?It is the idea of a political-military physics in which variable antagonistic forces are exercised in terms of random violent clashes of some with others, of some against others. The balance of Europe is not a problem of statics, but of dynamics." Security, Territory, Population pp. 297-310 p. 308, notes 14, 16 for Guicciardini 2007
  128. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 237-240 (2008)
  129. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 240-248, pp. 250-252, notes, 24-25 (2008)
  130. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 260-267 (2008)
  131. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 277-278 (2008)
  132. ^ "The people were too hard for the King in property; and then in arms too hard for him. We must either lay the foundation in property, or else it will not stand. Property, generally, is now with the people; the government, therefore, must be there." Quoted from Captain Baynes in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in Thomas Burton Diary Of Parliamentary Debate Volume 3 pp. 146-148 1658-1659
  133. ^ "All government is built upon propriety, else the poor must rule it. All nations are so. Let us therefore consider things before persons." Thomas Burton Parliamentary Diary pp. 146-148 "Government is built upon propriety," therefore "lands, leases, or goods," should be represented, rather than the people." Thomas Burton Diary Volume 3 1658-1659 pp. 146-148, note 36
  134. ^ The British historian Christopher Hill refers to the views of British political scientist James Harrington on 'the people' taken from his work The Commonwealth of Oceana Puritanism and Revolution: Studies in Interpretation of the English Revolution of the 17th Century pp. 269-282 1958
  135. ^ "The Barons got a great share, and having a considerable part of the land, and no part in the Government, they began to stir and ruffle with the King; and in fine got authority, and gave laws both to King and Commons, until King Henry VII.'s time. He designed to weaken the hands of the nobility and their power. But Henry VIII. did more by dissolving many of the abbeys, and distributing their lands among the Commons." A certain Mr. Neville refers to the Dissolution of the Monasteries brought in by Henry VIII and parliament by the authority and power given to the monarch of the day by the Act of Supremacy passed by parliament under Henry VIII which brought the first ensemble apparatus of what would later become known as the Welfare state 350 years later Quoted From Thomas Burton Diary Of Parliamentary Debate Volume 3 pp. 132-134 1658-1659
  136. ^ "I wonder what is the necessity for this previous vote. We are returned to the law of nature. It is said in the Bill the people have all acknowledged him. I thought the people had been only here. Either he is so, or he is not so. If so, there is no necessity for this House declaring him so. If not, there is need of some consideration. The Bill makes it hereditary. Where it speaks of successor, it mentions nothing of the Petition and Advice. It is fit you should be satisfied whether he be so. It should be made out. It makes him Supreme Magistrate, and gives him as great a power as ever King of England had. I would know what the words mean, if it give him not the executive and legislative power as fully as any King. Consider whether you do not put yourselves out of a capacity of recalling your liberties, by this step. First, you settle a monarch; one estate before the other two" Quoted from Captain Baynes Baynes refers to the 'people' in terms only limited to those 'elected' "that out of the 658 members sent to the House, only 171 were sent by the people. In 1794, "the majority of the House of Commons," for England and Wales, was computed to be "chosen by less than eight thousand, out of eight millions" which comprises less than 00.001% of the 'people' to the House of commons; see note 38 taken from Thomas Burton Diary Of Parliamentary Debate Volume 3 pp. 145-150
  137. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 285-286 (2007)
  138. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 323-324 (2007)
  139. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 331, notes 31, 32, 34, 38 (2007)
  140. ^ Nicolas Delamare 1639-1723 Delamare served as Superintendent at Chatelet from 1673 to 1710 under the lieutenancy of La Reynie this is Foucault's only mention of La Reynie in his lectures for more information on Delamare see Security, Territory, Population the following notes p. 53 n. 26, pp. 359-360 n. 1-9 2007
  141. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 285-310 2007
  142. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 299, pp. 304-306, p. 307, notes 9-19 2007
  143. ^ Halisbury Laws Of England Volume 34 Parliament 4th Edition 1984
  144. ^ From Karl Popper to Karl Rove – and Back Project syndicate 2007
  145. ^ Review of the Executive Royal Prerogative Powers 2010.
  146. ^ Taming the Prerogative: Strengthening Ministerial Accountability to Parliament 2004
  147. ^ Foucault doesn't use the phrase Royal Prerogative but uses the term 'Royal power' The Birth Of Biopolitics pp. 7-9, p. 37 2008
  148. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 314-315 (2007)
  149. ^ Security, Territory, Population; see note 8 pp. 329-330 (2007)
  150. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 311-332 (2007)
  151. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 318-319 (2007)
  152. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 330; see note 14 (2007)
  153. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 318 (2007)
  154. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 330; see note 11 (2007)
  155. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 252, note 40 2007
  156. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 260-261, p. 263, pp. 280-281, notes 20-21, 24-25, 26 2007
  157. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 267-275 (2007)
  158. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 255-283 (2007)
  159. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 283, notes 59, 60 (2007)
  160. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 272-283. (2007)
  161. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 272-283.(2007)
  162. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 255-283 2007
  163. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 163-185 2007
  164. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 191-226 2007
  165. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 255-283 (2007)
  166. ^ Security, Territory, Population pp. 280-281, notes 19, 20, 24, 26 (2007)
  167. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics (2008) p. 131
  168. ^ Security, Territory, Population p. 363 (2007)
  169. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 27-29 (2008)
  170. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 27-53 (2008)
  171. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 51-73 (2008)
  172. ^ The Network Of World Trade League of Nations 1942
  173. ^ The World Trade Network Luca De Benedicts and Luca Tajoli 2010 The World Trade Network Luca De Benedicts and Luca Tajoli 2010
  174. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 129-157 (2008)
  175. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 101-128 (2008)
  176. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 159-184 (2008)
  177. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 1-25 (2008)
  178. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 27-51 (2008)
  179. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 129-150 (2008)
  180. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 129-157 (2008)
  181. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 215-237 (2008)
  182. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 290-316 (2008)
  183. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 267-289 (2008)
  184. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 291-316 (2008)
  185. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 267-290 (2008)
  186. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 291-316 (2008)
  187. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 267-290 (2008)
  188. ^ The Birth of Biopolitics pp. 291-316 (2008)


  • Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended
  • Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population
  • Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer
  • Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire
  • Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude

Further reading[edit]

  • Research in Biopolitics: Volume 1: Sexual Politics and Political Feminism Editor Albert Somit (1991)
  • Research in Biopolitics: Volume 2: Biopolitics and the Mainstream: Contributions of Biology to Political Science Editor Albert Somit (1994)
  • Research in Biopolitics: Volume 3: Human Nature and Politics Editors Steven A. Peterson Albert Somit (1995)
  • Research in Biopolitics: Volume 4: Research in Biopolitics Editors Albert Somit Steven A. Peterson (1996)
  • Research in Biopolitics: Volume 5: Recent Explorations in Biology and Politics Editors Albert Somit Steven A. Peterson (1997)
  • Research In Biopolitics: Volume 6: Sociobiology and Politics Editors Albert Somit Steven A.Peterson (1998)
  • Research In Biopolitics: Volume 7: Ethnic Conflicts Explained By Ethnic Nepotism Editors Albert Somit Steven A. Peterson (1999)
  • Research In Biopolitics: Volume 8: Evolutionary Approaches In The Behavioral Sciences: Toward A Better Understanding of Human Nature Editors Steven A.Peterson Albert Somit (2001)
  • Research In Biopolitics: Volume 9: Biology and Political Behavior: The Brain, Genes and Politics - the Cutting Edge; Editor Albert Somit (2011)
  • Michel Foucault, The Government of Self and Others: Lectures at the Collège de France 1982-1983 (2010)
  • Michel Foucault, The Courage of Truth: Lectures at the Collège de France 1983-1984 (2011)

External links[edit]