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Governance to governmentality: analyzing NGOs, states, and power

Sending, Ole Jacob and Neumann, Iver B. (2006) Governance to governmentality: analyzing NGOs, states, and power. International Studies Quarterly, 50 (3). pp. 651-672. ISSN 0020-8833

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2006.00418.x


Studies of global governance typically claim that the state has lost power to nonstate actors and that political authority is increasingly institutionalized in spheres not controlled by states. In this article, we challenge the core claims in the literature on global governance. Rather than focusing on the relative power of states and nonstate actors, we focus on the sociopolitical functions and processes of governance in their own right and seek to identify their rationality as practices of political rule. For this task, we use elements of the conception of power developed by Michel Foucault in his studies of “governmentality.” In this perspective, the role of nonstate actors in shaping and carrying out global governance-functions is not an instance of transfer of power from the state to nonstate actors but rather an expression of a changing logic or rationality of government (defined as a type of power) by which civil society is redefined from a passive object of government to be acted upon into an entity that is both an object and a subject of government. The argument is illustrated by two case studies: the international campaign to ban landmines, and international population policy. The cases show that the self-association and political will-formation characteristic of civil society and nonstate actors do not stand in opposition to the political power of the state, but is a most central feature of how power, understood as government, operates in late modern society.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2013 09:36
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2024 16:54

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