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A study on late Foucaults state theory : focusing on governmentality

서울대학교 대학원
Publication Date
  • 푸코
  • Foucault
  • 통치성
  • Governmentalty
  • 국가론
  • State Theory
  • 비-실체적 국가론
  • Non-Substantial State Theory
  • 전략
  • Strategy
  • 전략적 국가론
  • Strategic State Theory
  • Political Science


This paper attempts to define Foucault's State theory and show its singularity compared with preexisting State theory. Contrary to the common notion, there is a clear State theory in Foucault's work. I think that we can name it "Strategic State Theory" and that it can overcome many weak points of existing State theory. I classified preexisting State theory into three types. Sovereignty theory, Marxist State theory, Strategic-relational State theory. Indeed, there are many other State theories. Nonetheless, I think these three State theories exhibit many important propositions found in other State theories. Sovereignty theory takes State as an absolute, single, self-dependent substance. Marxist State theory considers State as an outcome of capitalistic mode of production. First, in Foucault's Strategic State Theory, State is not substance. This does not mean that State is illusion, but rather that State is an effect of concrete practices and strategies. According to Foucault, modern State is an effect of a specific strategy, viz. Governmentality. Govenmentality came into existence after Raison d'Etat, the strategy during the period of modern State formation, faced certain limitations and transformed itself. In the 16th century, secular political system began to appear as the Europe emerged out of the Middle Ages. States now detached themselves form God and aimed at gaining strength for its own sake. It is at this period that Raison d'Etat, the strategy which strives to use domestic resource at its maximum and be independent from other states and which takes people as subjects and try to control every single person, appeared. But Raison d'Etat soon ran into its limits. No matter how severely State try to control its subjects, people acted as if there was inherent desire and order in them which could not be regulated by State power. Being different from Raison d'Etat, Governmentality regards people as population which have the

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