How to apply a feminist governmentality: Including, Transforming, Reconceptualizing

Hanne Marlene Dahl, Malin Rönnblom

Research output: Working paperResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The feminist engagement with Foucault’s governmentality approach is typically discussed in terms of consistency and usefulness. This is not our concern. Ours is a methodological concern arising from a dissatisfaction with his notion of governmentality and most feminist applications of it. Based upon an analysis of feminist governmentality, we notice that the feminist element is often reduced to the object of investigation, e.g. studying policies of gender mainstreaming or feminist social movements. Instead, we seek to explore new ways of doing feminist governmentality in which feminism has implications for how the object of investigation is studied. We do so in two stages: firstly, we re-read the existing feminist literature, outlining a methodological scale of two main stances on governmentality, and secondly, we create a self-reflexive dialogue about what could be done differently. The methodological scale consists of two primary feminist stances: a) including and transforming a gender perspective, b) introducing additional analytical concepts. In the latter version, we re-conceptualize feminist governmentality through additional analytical concepts, such as ‘politicization’ and ‘care’, which go beyond just adding a gender perspective to the governmentality approach. Honouring the feminist methodology of continuous self-reflexivity, we perform an exercise in joint reflexivity through vignettes written about the two concepts and a dialogue arising from a reflection upon what others have written and what we ourselves are doing. Thus, we develop notions of ‘care governmentality’ and ‘political governmentality’
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean journal of womens studies
Pages1-20
Number of pages20
Publication statusSubmitted - 6 Nov 2020

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