Post-Foucauldian governmentality: What does it offer critical social policy analysis?

Kim McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

233 Citations (Scopus)
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This article considers the theoretical perspective of post-Foucauldian governmentality, especially the insights and challenges it poses for applied researchers within the critical social policy tradition. The article firstly examines the analytical strengths of this approach to understanding power and rule in contemporary society, before moving on to consider its limitations for social policy. It concludes by arguing that these insights can be retained, and some of the weaknesses overcome, by adopting Stenson's realist governmentality approach. This advocates combining traditional discursive analysis with more ethnographic methods in order to render visible the concrete activity of governing, and unravel the messiness, complexity and unintended consequences involved in the struggles around subjectivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-486
Number of pages21
JournalCritical Social Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • Ethnography
  • Foucault
  • Governing
  • Power
  • Resistance


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