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Governmentality: Michel Foucault & the Analytics of Power - POL00026H

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Simon Parker
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2018-19

Module aims

Through a range of key theoretical texts and historical and contemporary examples, the module explores what Foucault understood by the concept of ?governmentality? and how different governmentalities of biopower have developed in relation to, for example, madness, criminality, sexuality, fertility, migration, citizenship, gender and race. The module also critically examines why these governmentalities of everyday life are increasingly defining who we are and where and how we are able to live.

The module aims to introduce students to the political and social theory of ?biopolitics? and ?biopower?; to investigate regimes of surveillance, sorting, regulation, control and confinement within state and non-state relations with subjects and populations; and to explain the role of biopolitics in contemporary strategies of political power in a range of state and non-state contexts.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will have acquired a critical understanding of a variety of approaches to the study of governmentality drawing on the work of Michel Foucault and associated theorists.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor?s feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 20 working days after submission in 2017/18, and from 2018/19, no later than 20 working days; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor?s regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Agamben, Giorgio. Homo sacer sovereign power and bare life (1998).

Foucault, Michel. Security, Territory, Population (2009).

Rose, Nikolas The Politics of life itself: biomedicine, power, and subjectivity in the twenty-first century (2007).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students