Alexandretta Found

Foucauldian analyses of power, specifically within the lens of governmentality, stress the relationship between power and knowledge. Mitchell Dean in his immensely successful Governmentality (1999, first edition) carries this analysis further in exploring how the usage of governmentality has occurred in academic work since Foucault’s initial presentation of the concept. In particular, in noting the work of Nancy Fraser and Linda Gordon (1994) on ‘welfare dependency’ he notes the difficult nature of performative categories of social description. As he says,

“Given the politically controversial nature of welfare-state measures, and the proliferation of the human sciences and derived forms of expertise, such categories as ‘sole parent’ will be invested with meanings and subject to programmes of action that derive from such knowledge. This will include employment of moral and psychological judgements.”*

Here is where he really makes things interesting, however, by arguing that:

“We cannot simply wish away such forms of knowledge…

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  1. The questions you pose are remarkably intense! Their answers are not logically deductible it would seem (unless “the act” is defined broadly enough to incorporate the act of thought). Ideally, thinking leads directly to action, but we should not forget that it is acquired through action also. They are dependent on one another.

    We must act in the world to find we have a social purpose at all.

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