Browsing by Subject "governmentality - political reason"

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  • Sagne, Silvain (1999)
    The general aim of this study is to analyse some of the most important facets of governmentality, its technologies and methods on the one hand, and on the other hand the ethic of conviction, the ethic of responsibility and finally the ethic of politics. The analysis proposes some new ways of anatomising political reason, ways that may operate upon and through history, but which do so in order to gain a purchase upon our present and its politics. Contemporary political reason seems troubled and uncertain. The death of state socialism as a viable political doctrine has been, one can say, accompanied, not by an uncontested triumph of liberal democracy and free market individualism, but by a proliferation of political doctrines and programmes that are unstable and difficult to classify in conventional terms. In and for the favouring of empowering both individual and community, parties of both right and left advocate the removal of aspects of welfare and security from state control and supply. Ecological politics seems to be so attractive to many because of the simultaneous demands for action by public authorities and changes in the conduct of private companies and individuals. Feminist arguments have gone beyond the twin options of total destruction of patriarchy or simple campaigns for equality to take on issues raised by the new reproductive technology, the right to life, sexual abuse and sexual harassment to engage with a range of other issues such as the organization of work and child care that both call for actions by political authorities and ethical transformation across a population. It is then a political life, of ethics, which emphasizes the crucial political value for the mobilization and shaping of individual capacities and conduct. But the political reason itself is mutating analysis of political lags some way behind. As Weber sees it the antagonism between the ethics of conviction and the ethic of responsibility is fundamentally insoluble by scientific means; only an act of personal choice leads to the acceptance of one rather than of the other as a standard of concrete behaviour. On the other hand, there are strong indications that Weber, in discussing the alternative between the two ethical orientations in the field of politics, accords a special prominence to the extent, in what sense, and with what justification the ethic of responsibility is claimed by Weber to the specific standard of political behaviour, the ethic of politics. When one begins to examine Machiavelli's remedies for modem weakness, he or she will come upon an obvious difficulty that has been much discussed. Machiavelli is most famous today as the author of the Prince, an attractive work, original, short and dangerous, that advices princes on how to seize absolute power and authority, how to be good and alternatively criminal and wicked but also a specially republican. As both have pointed out (Foucault - Machiavelli) the Prince has to get out of all kinds of principalities, but soon the Prince faces "new Princes", private individual who becomes princes of new state that they found. At the same time they are live the present of what they are, they will conduct but also will learn how to conduct oneselves. Here the most important aspect remains the transparent pride of the author, he proclaims the work's radical originality as he promises to go to the effectual truth and ignore imagined states.