Fascinating insight into the rise of modern government,
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This review is from: Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France (Michel Foucault: Lectures at the Collège de France) (Paperback)
'Security, Territory, Population' is perhaps the most famous of Foucault's lecture series from his time as Chair of History of Systems of Thought at the College de France. Following on from 'Society Must be Defended', the first three lectures of STP elaborate on the concept of biopower, first introduced in 'History of Sexuality: Vol 1'. Lecture four marks a shift, however, with the exploration of the Christian pastorate and its role in governing the conduct of men, leading Foucault to introduce arguably his most widely utilised concept; governmentality. Foucault demonstrates mastery of a breath-taking range of source material for these lectures, tracing multiple strands of the rise of modern rationality of government, including the problem of population and the development and transformation of the Christian pastorate.
The wonderful thing about these transcribed lectures is the amount of legwork that has gone into supplying extra information through footnotes and endnotes, clarifying seemingly off-the-cuff remarks Foucault makes, which often relate to works of other great thinkers. This is perhaps a bit too advanced for a total beginner when it comes to Foucault, and I would therefore recommend those unfamiliar with his work to begin with Discipline and Punish or History of Sexuality Vol 1; they are by far his most readable works.