Posted in Work by Foucault on 14 June 2012 |
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McConnell, Fiona (2012). “Governmentality to practise the state? Constructing a Tibetan population in exile”. Environment and planning. D, Society & space, 30 (1), p. 78-95.
Drawing on the extraterritorial and nonstate centric form of power found in Foucault’s notion of governmentality, I contribute to three emerging debates: the extent to which governmentality is a state or nonstate practice, the question of what is being governed, and the relationship between biopolitics and cultural politics. Focusing on the governance strategies of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile (TGiE) based in India, I explore how ideas of governmentality inform an understanding of what kind of polity this is and, in turn, how this case both confirms and challenges understandings of governance practices and the construction of a population. As I examine the range of techniques used by TGiE to bring into visibility the exile Tibetan population, my attention focuses on the simultaneous totalising and individualising strategies of biopolitics, the importance of population given the lack of territory, and the intersection of exile realities with such practices of governmentality. Taking as a framework Hannah’s three ‘moments’ in the cycle of social control observation, normalising judgment, and regulation-I examine how TGiE seeks to know its population through technologies, imagines and normalises the population through discourses, and manages the population by regulating conduct. Finally, in analysing TGiE’s creation of the ‘population’ as a strategy to legitimise its governance, I conclude by outlining how this study informs debates regarding the cultural context of governmentality and its relationship to territory.
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