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Critiquing governmentality

The social construction of participation and accountability in the Atlantic zone of Costa Rica

Pieter de Vries

This article sets out to test the Foucauldian concept of governmentality as it has been applied by social theorists working on the topic of neoliberal managerialism. It starts with a critical discussion of the 'good governance' agenda as developed by the World Bank. The question that the article poses is whether such technologies of governance are as successful in shaping new fields of intervention as assumed in the (managerial) governmentality literature. This question is answered negatively by way of a case study of an extensionist, working in an integrated rural development project in the Atlantic zone of Costa Rica, who developed his own 'participatory extension style of operation' for dealing with farmer beneficiaries. At a more theoretical level, the article takes issue with current notions regarding the malleability of the Self and the 'social'. The article concludes that the governmentality approach has perverse consequences for the anthropological project as it leads to an impoverished kind of ethnography.

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Introduction

Mimetic Governmentality, Colonialism, and the State

Patrice Ladwig and Ricardo Roque

colonial state. Each article in this collection elaborates on the conceptual insights of mimesis differently and independently; each work adopts distinct approaches to state and government in colonial settings. Yet all articles share a similar trajectory

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Nicoletta Bevilacqua

In its electoral programme, the new centre right government that

took office after the victory of 13 May 2001 had announced its

intention to stress the digitalisation of public administration, which

it considered to be a necessary requirement for ‘redesigning public

administration from the foundations and reinventing the state in

organisational and functional terms so as to seize the potential

offered by new technologies’. The programme identified a break

with the approach taken by centre left governments in the need to

place ‘the idea of service provision as well as the organisation itself’

at the heart of ‘e-government’ policy, as opposed to setting up a network

infrastructure such as RUPA (Rete unitaria della pubblica

amministrazione – Public Administration Unitary Network), which

had been acted on by the previous government and judged ineffective

‘due to the lack of an adequate plan of organisational reform’.

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Fighting Fire with Fire

Resistance to Transitional Justice in Bahrain

Ciara O’Loughlin

added by Mitchell Dean’s (2010) Foucault-inspired analytics of government approach, which by identifying discrepancies between actors’ declared and actual intentions, assists in revealing less obvious manifestations of resistance. While the former type

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Daniela Giannetti

This chapter provides an overview of the main features of the Italian government led by Mario Monti between 16 November 2011 and 21 December 2012. In particular, it deals with the technocratic composition of the government and the role played by Italy's head of state, Giorgio Napolitano, in the process of government formation. The chapter then analyzes the implementation of the government's policy agenda, trends in parliamentary support for the government, and government satisfaction among the Italian public. Finally, the chapter examines the termination of the Monti government and its survival as a caretaker government before the general elections of February 2013.

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Policing production

Corporate governmentality and the Cultivation System

Albert Schrauwers

This article reexamines the Cultivation System in early nineteenth-century Java as part of an assemblage of Crown strategies, programs, and technologies to manage the economy—and more particularly, “police” the paupers—of the “greater Netherlands.” This article looks at the integrated global commodity chains within which the System was embedded, and the common governmental strategies adopted by the Dutch Crown to manage these flows in both metropole and colony. It focuses on the role of an early corporation, the Netherlands Trading Company, that also served as the administrator of poverty-relief efforts in the Eastern Netherlands where cotton cloth was produced. The article argues that corporate governmentality arose as a purposive strategy of avoiding liberal parliamentary scrutiny and bolstering the “enlightened absolutism” of the Crown. By withdrawing responsibility for the policing of paupers from the state, and vesting it in corporations, the Crown commercialized the delivery of pauper relief and reduced state expenditure, while still generating large profits.

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Imitations of Buddhist Statecraft

The Patronage of Lao Buddhism and the Reconstruction of Relic Shrines and Temples in Colonial French Indochina

Patrice Ladwig

issue is described as “mimetic governmentality” (see also Ladwig 2011 ; Roque 2015 ). 3 In contrast to some of the works on mimesis outlined in the introduction to this special issue that emphasize the resistance aspects of mimesis, I suggest that

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International Biopolitics

Foucault, Globalisation and Imperialism

M.G.E. Kelly

In this article, I present a new Foucauldian reading of the international, via Foucault's concept of 'biopolitics'. I begin by surveying the existing Foucauldian perspectives on the international, which mostly take as their point of departure Foucault's concept of 'governmentality', and mostly diagnose a 'global governmentality' or 'global biopolitics' in the current era of globalisation. Against these majority positions, I argue that analysis of the contemporary international through the lens of Foucauldian biopolitics in fact shows us that our world system is marked by a parasitic imperialism of rich sovereign states over poor ones, carried on at the level of populations.

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Slum politics

Community leaders, everyday needs, and utopian aspirations in Recife, Brazil

Martijn Koster and Pieter A. de Vries

This article envisages slum dwellers' politics in Recife, Brazil as a realm of possibility in which care and recognition are central. Community leaders are its main facilitators as articulators of slum dwellers' needs and aspirations. The article's notion of slum politics is an elaboration of Chatterjee's (2004) ideas on popular politics as a “politics of the governed.“ Yet the article critiques the governmentality perspective for its inability to envisage a politics of hope and possibility. It distinguishes among slum politics, governmental politics (projects and programs), and electoral politics (voting), which are entwined and interdependent, but different. Zooming in on a community leader's urban agriculture project, the article argues that this project, which from an outsiders' perspective may be considered non-viable, provided slum dwellers with possibilities to strive for community solidarity and personal recognition. Slum politics, the article concludes, is about claiming the right to be counted and recognized, and about the care for the other.

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City, Community, Nation, State

Participation and Spectacle

Judith Kapferer

The events and sites of a national holiday (17 May in Bergen, Norway) are the grounds from which to draw out meanings of nationalism and tradition, and analyze ideologies of egalitarianism and individualism in a social democratic welfare state. My project has two aims: to open up and deconstruct aspects of the material and symbolic life of the city, and to engage an examination of patterns of local and national community life in relation to shifting evaluations of localism and nationalism within the a changing state formation. Bergen can be thought of as a case study of social order and control, with women, children, and reverence for home life, highlighted in the town’s celebrations. The symbolism of the day discovers community and state in a difficult relation between domestic communities and nationalist ideology in the maintenance of governmentality, a relation mediated by the city itself.