How does Foucault's governmentality approach make a critical contribution to our understanding of neo-liberalism by moving beyond the standard dualisms of political philosophy, such as knowledge and power, state and economy and subject and power (as domination)?
Lemke says that the dualism of knowledge and power is undermined by the concept of political rationality. This concentrates on the rationalities underlying the historical practices of neo-liberalism that produces new forms of knowledge, new concepts that contribute to new government domains of regulation and intervention.
Lemke mentions sustainable development as an example. This reinvents nature external to the economy as an ecosystem and brings the stand alone economy within the environment. The economy is now seen as dependant on the ecosystem, eg. if there is no water in the dams or the rivers, then there is no economy or cities. Hence we have limits to growth and the efficient management of natural resources.
The second way that the dualism of knowledge and power is undermined by the concept of political rationality is the focus on the strategic character of government. Instead of the old idea of a (pure) plan that is then applied to (an impure) reality we have rationalities as part of reality.
The various resistances to the Living Murray Initiative that plans to return environmental flows to the River Murray by the irrigator groups are not just a block to the implementation of the plan. They are already a part of the plan, as they actively contributed to the fissures, contradictions and incohereneces inside the Living Murray Initiative.Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at October 29, 2004 08:13 AM | TrackBack