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Power and Rule in Modern Society

Second Edition

December 2009 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Originally published in 1999 this exceptionally clear and lucid book quickly became the standard overview of what are now called 'governmentality studies'.

With its emphasis on the relationship between governmentality and other key concepts drawn from Michel Foucault, such as bio-politics and sovereignty, the First Edition anticipated and defined the terms of contemporary debate and analysis.

In this timely Second Edition, Mitchell Dean engages with the full textual basis of Foucault's lecturers and once again provides invaluable insights into the traditions, methods, and theories of political power identifying the authoritarian as well as liberal sides of governmentality.

Every chapter has been fully revised and updated to incorporate, and respond to, new theoretical, social and political developments in the field; a new introduction surveying the state of governmentality today has also been added as well as a completely new chapter on international governmentality.

Introduction to the Second Edition
Basic Concepts and Themes
Government and Governmentality

An Analytics of Government

Analyzing Regimes of Government

Genealogy and Governmentality
Genealogy and Government

Liberalism, Critique and 'the Social'

Neo-Liberalism and Foucault

Dependency and Empowerment: Two Case Studies



Pastoral Power, Police and Reason of State
Pastoral Power

Reason of State and Police


Bio-Politics and Sovereignty

Sovereignty and the Governmentalization of the State



Law and Norm

Society and Social Government

Authoritarian Governmentality
The Illiberality of Liberal Government

Bio-Politics, Race and Non-Liberal Rule

Neo-Liberalism and Advanced Liberal Government
Society, Freedom and Reform

Advanced Liberal Government

A Post-Welfarist Regime of the Social

Risk and Reflexive Government
Two Approaches to Risk

Risk and Reflexive Modernization

Insurance and Government

Reflexive Government

International Governmentality
Foucault and the International

Building on Foucault

Conclusion: 'Not Bad... but Dangerous'
Postscript to the Second Edition: The Crisis of Neo-Liberal Governmentality?

Mitchell Dean has written an outstandingly clear and scholarly introduction to the central theses and methods of the analysis of the mentalities and techniques of rule… He not only provides a guide to Foucault's own thought in this area, but he also draws upon other key thinkers in contemporary social theory to develop original and illuminating analysis of some principle formations of political power. Dean's book should become required reading not just for those interested in the work of Michel Foucault, but for all those who are concerned with the dilemmas of contemporary politics.

Nikolas Rose
Goldsmiths, Praise for the First Edition

This second edition thoughtfully extends and develops the original text, offers an illuminating new introduction and effectively outlines directions for further study and analysis. It will be welcomed and valued by teachers and students addressing Foucault's work on governmentality and by those interested in exploring its contemporary relevance. Undoubtedly it is the key text in its field.

Barry Smart
Portsmouth University

a fantastic read for anyone who is researching ideas on power and governmentality. a very easy and understandable chapters that lead the student to overall issues.

Ms Irena Loveikaite
College Street Campus, Waterford Institute of Technology
September 5, 2018

Dean's elaboration of governmentality is another valuable attempt to provide alternative views to mainstream global governance research. It stands on wellknown premises of critical and postmodern theory but manages to sketch the contours of new avenues. Curious and more advanced students of international relations and global governance definitely profit from a thorough investigation.

Dr Guenther Auth
Geschwister-Scholl Institute, Ludwig-Maximilians University
November 6, 2012

Too advanced for undergrad

Dr Katherine Watson
Sociology , University of the Fraser Valley
September 26, 2012

The book really is great and I recommend it to anyone who struggles with the possibility of being free and governed at the same time. What I think is not sufficiently explained (especially, there are not enough examples) is how power can be asubjective and intentional at the same time.

Mr Tomas Profant
Social and cultural anthropology, Commenius university
November 12, 2011

Thank you for sending me this very interesting and challenging book. Challenging because it deals with some of the most complicated and hard to - both to understand and to explain - concepts in social sciences - Government and Governmentality. It does so from the position of French philosopher M. Foucault, but the Author (M. Dean) added it own rich knowledge and intuition and created very informative, modern and original work.

Not many authors managed to talk about "big" concept with such clarity and, for me, that is one of the best points of this book. It is appropriate for students as well as academics and also for those that are not so involved in Foucault's work. In the same time it is quite demanding with so many references and notions and explanations. That is why I would recommend reading it slowly - chapter by chapter.

The subject it covers is interesting both to sociologists, philosophers, historians as well as political scientists, to mention just some.

Since this is second edition it has been expanded with new Introduction, Postscript and chapter International Governmentality, but it is obvious that the relationship between Individuals and Government is still in the very center of social sciences so this second edition is very current as the first one in 1999.

Ms Marica Marinovic
Sociology, Croatian studies /Hrvatski studiji/
March 1, 2011

Excellent introduction to this body of knowledge

Dr Stephen Cowden
Dept of Community & Social Studies, Coventry University
December 7, 2010

Intriguing commentary. Adds more ideas to current debates. Well-worth a read.

Jane Jackson
Educational Psychology , The Open University
September 6, 2010

Excellent background reading in relation to social policy, the role of the welfare state, and care and control debates.

Dr Kim Robinson
Tizard Centre, Kent University
April 12, 2010

New to this Second Edition.

• Every chapter has been fully revised and updated - with over 20% new material

• A new introduction surveying the state of governmentality today

• A completely new chapter on international governmentality

• A new Postscript.

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter One