Table of Contents
From the beginning of the 1970s, Michel Foucault studied power. Repressive, ruling, and dominating, discipline, his first developed concept of power, is an essentially negative mechanism. Foucault seems to strive to escape the binary and overbearing idea of power he inherited from the theories of sovereignty. By the mid-’70s, he balances and nuances this understanding. Power is no longer likened to a prison panopticon, but to the government—in the narrow sense, and in the broad sense to a behavioral technology applied to free individuals. But again, Foucault is encumbered by this regal rationality which influences the contemporary understandings of power he continues to criticize. He makes three exceptions: the first is Christian pastoral care, the second is the Ancients’ formulation of self-government, and the third is managerial governmentality, which Foucault sketches very briefly and incompletely, and which we will discuss here.