Power and the state: Governmentality in contemporary Iraq

Rasmus Monrad Ågård

Student thesis: Master thesis


The objective of this thesis is to examine structures of governmental rationalities and relations of power, in order to show how they influence the state system in contemporary Iraq. From this basis, the thesis further seeks to discuss how these insights can contribute to the understanding and assessment of the state within the field of International Relations (IR). Building on a Foucauldian tradition, this thesis uses the theoretical framework an analytics of government, as an approach to ‘open up’ particular practices and patterns. The thesis provides insights into to the longer historical perspectives of the Iraqi state. The analysis suggests the existence of systems of patronage and favoritism, and that methods of corruption, violence and sectarian discourses influence the structuring and functioning of the state. The Iraqi state continually competes with other sources of influence, and is shaped by persisting militarization of the political field. States and the relations of power surrounding them differ vastly, and it is thus argued that an analysis of the state must reject a priori understandings in order to openly examine these often contradicting structures.

EducationsGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date2018
Number of pages77
SupervisorsSune Haugbølle