Governmentality

white marble texture background with a subtle hint of the word governmentality coming through like it was chiseled into the stone
gov·​ern·​ment·​tal·​i·​tynoun

The art of government; or the organized practices, mentalities, rationalities, and techniques through which subjects are governed by a positive means rather than negative—as first introduced by French philosopher Michel Foucault.

via Google Ngram

We live in the era of a ‘governmentality’ first discovered in the eighteenth century. This governmentalization of the state is a singularly paradoxical phenomenon, since if in fact the problems of governmentality and the techniques of government have become the only political issue, the only real space for political struggle and contestation, this is because the governmentalization of the state is at the same time what has permitted the state to survive, and it is possible to suppose that if the state is what it is today, this is so precisely thanks to this governmentality, which is at once internal and external to the state, since it is the tactics of government which make possible the continual definition and redefinition of what is within the competence of the state and what is not, the public versus the private, and so on; thus the state can only be understood in its survival and its limits on the basis of the general tactics of governmentality.

Michel Foucault via The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality

Select Examples

The spread of mobile telephones in Africa has enabled a broad range of citizens to join live conversations on call-in radio shows. Both African governments and foreign aid agencies claim that broadcasting such debates can raise awareness, amplify the voices of the poor, and facilitate development and better governance; they now fund a large share of interactive shows in some countries. Critics of such participatory initiatives typically accept that they have powerful effects but worry that debates among citizens are deployed as a technology of “governmentality”, producing forms of popular subjectivity compatible with elitist economic systems and technocratic political regimes.

Alastair Fraser, The Limits of Governmentality: Call-in Radio and the Subversion of Neoliberal Evangelism in Zambia

Geographical Interest

Country-level searches for “Governmentality” over the past 5 years via GoogleTrends data
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