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Foucault's Critical Ethics$
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Richard A. Lynch

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823271252

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823271252.001.0001

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Reframing the Theory

Reframing the Theory

Biopower and Governmentality

(p.89) 3 Reframing the Theory
Foucault's Critical Ethics

Richard A. Lynch

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines Michel Foucault’s revision of his initial analysis of power by introducing two new central concepts: biopower and governmentality. Foucault realized that disciplinary power alone cannot adequately explain the entirety of modern power, and thus came up with a new element, termed “biopower.” This in turn forced him to reframe his initial hypothesis that all macro forms of power could be derived entirely from micro forms. This chapter first considers Foucault’s exploration of the extent to which politics can be understood as “the continuation of war” before discussing his conception of populations in relation to “bio-politics” and biopower. It also explores Foucault’s notion of “security,” or the “apparatuses of security,” as well as “pastoral power” before concluding with an assessment of his argument that an analysis of power relations necessarily frames ethics and that it simultaneously provides resources for such an ethics.

Keywords:   biopower, Michel Foucault, governmentality, disciplinary power, politics, populations, bio-politics, security, pastoral power, ethics

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