"Michel Foucault’s art consisted in using history to cut diagonally through contemporary reality. He could speak of Nietzsche or Aristotle, of expert psychiatric opinion or the Christian pastoral, but those who attended his lectures always took from what he said a perspective on the present and contemporary events."
A selection from Foucault's lectures at the College de France between 1977-78 titled Security, Territory, Population.
One way to view these, and the subsequent series of lectures (for they should be seen as forming a unit), is as a kind of oblique response to the problems, and failures, of revolutionary politics posed during Foucault's encounter with Chomsky on Dutch TV earlier in the decade (1971), a decade in which the problem of revolutionary politics was posed most clearly (i.e., in the aftermath of the socio-political events of the previous decade which came to symbolic expression in America but which also had correlates across the entire western cultural field, from Prague to Canberra).
What I hope to bring out in this selection, what I hope it picks out from the lectures so that they stand out clearly, are the key features which emerge when one stands sufficiently back from them to view them in the round.
...if I had wanted to give the lectures I am giving this year a more exact title, I certainly would not have chosen “security, territory, population.” What I would really like to undertake is something that I would call a history of “governmentality.”
...in no way have I wanted to undertake the genealogy of the state itself or the history of the state. I have simply wanted to show some sides or edges of what we could call the practico-reflexive prism, or just simply the reflexive prism, in which the problem of the state appeared in the sixteenth century... . It is a bit as if I were to say to you: My aim has not been to give you the history of the planet Earth in terms of astrophysics, but to give you the history of the reflexive prism that, at a certain moment, allowed one to think that the Earth was a planet. It is the same kind of thing. [...] However, the appearance of the state on the horizon of a reflected practice at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century has been of absolutely capital importance in the history of the state and in the way in which the institutions of the state actually crystallized.
[Note: I will include a selection from the first lecture of the following year (published as The Birth of Biopolitics) in which Foucault formulates a summary of these lectures in the Appendix at the end.]
11 January 1978
This year I would like to begin studying something that I have called, somewhat vaguely, bio-power [editors note: see Society Must be Defended, lecture 17 March 1976 where this notion is first introduced, and also the series of lectures in 1979 published as The Birth of Biopolitics. The following is taken from the 'Course Context' furnished by Graham Burchell, the translator of the lectures in the epilogue:
"Although the genealogy of bio-power is approached obliquely, and as a result remains very allusive, it nonetheless continues to be the horizon of the two courses. In 1979, Foucault concludes the summary of the second course [The Birth of Biopolitics] with these words:
What should now be studied... is the way in which the specific problems of life and population were raised within a technology of government that, without always being liberal, far from it, has been constantly haunted by the question of liberalism since the end of the eighteenth century [i.e., licentiousness, liberatinage, the tyranny of a sovereign will, etc.]."See also Vol. 1 of his History of Sexuality]. By this I mean... the set of mechanisms through which the basic biological features [birth, death, reproduction, 'desires', 'needs'] of the human species became the object... of a general strategy of power, or, in other words, how, starting from the eighteenth century, modern Western societies took on board the fundamental biological fact that human beings are a species [summed up in the word 'population']. This is roughly what I have called bio-power.
...there is not a series of successive elements, the appearance of the new causing the earlier ones to disappear. There is not the legal age, the disciplinary age, and then the age of security. Mechanisms of security do not replace disciplinary mechanisms, which would have replaced juridico-legal mechanisms. In reality you have a series of complex edifices... in which what above all changes is the dominant characteristic... . In other words, there is a history of the actual techniques themselves.
Can we say... that the general economy of power in our societies is becoming a domain of security? ...in these lectures I would like to undertake a sort of history of techniques of security and try to identify whether we can really speak of a 'society of security.'
...the precise problem of this year,... is the... population as both the object and subject of... mechanisms of security, that is to say, the emergence not only of the notion, but also of the reality of population. Population is undoubtedly an idea and a reality that is absolutely modern in relation to the functioning of political power... .
Baldly, at first sight and somewhat schematically, we could say that sovereignty is exercised within the borders of a territory, discipline is exercised on the bodies of individuals, and security is exercised over a whole population.
Obviously, I will look at the case of towns. In the seventeenth century, and at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the town still had a particular legal and administrative definition that isolated it and marked it out quite specifically in comparison with other areas and spaces of the territory. Second, the town was typically confined within a tight, walled space, which had much more than just a military function. Finally, it was much more economically and socially mixed than the countryside.
...the growth of trade, and then, in the eighteenth century, urban demography, raised the problem of the town’s compression and enclosure within its walls. [...] Broadly speaking, what was at issue in the eighteenth century was the question of the spatial, juridical, administrative, and economic opening up of the town: resituating the town in a space of circulation.
Take a text from the middle of the seventeenth century, La Metropolitee, written by someone called Alexandre Le Maitre. [...] The problem of La Metropolitee is: Must a country have a capital city, and in what should it consists? Le Maitre's analysis is the following: The state, he says, actually comprises three elements...; the peasants, the artisans, and what he calls the third order, or third estate, which is, oddly, the sovereign and the officers in his service. The state must be like an edifice in relation to these three elements. The peasants, of course, are the foundations of the edifice, in the ground, under the ground, unseen but ensuring the solidity of the whole. [...] The foundations will be the countryside... . Le Maitre sees the relationship between the capital and the rest of the territory in different ways. It must be a geometrical relationship in the sense that a good country is one that, in short, must have the form of the circle, and the capital must be right at the centre of the circle. [...] The capital must be the ornament of the territory. [...] The capital must give the example of good morals. The capital must be the place where the holy orators are the best and are best heard, and it must also be the site of academics, since they must give birth to the sciences and truth that is to be disseminated in the rest of the country. Finally, there is an economic role: the capital must be the site of luxury so that it is a point of attraction for products coming from other countries, and at the same time, through trade, it must be the distribution point of manufactured articles and products, etcetera.
...the interesting thing is that Le Maitre dreams of connecting the political effectiveness of sovereignty to a spatial distribution. [...] In short, Le Maitre's problem is how to ensure a well "capitalized" state, that is to say, a state well organized around a capital as the seat of sovereignty and the central point of political and commercial circulation.
A whole series of artificial towns were built, some in Northern Europe and some here in France, in the time of Louis XIII and Louis XIV. Take a little town called Richelieu, which was built from scratch on the borders of Touraine and Poitou [translators note: the town was built by Cardinal Richelieu, who demolished the old hovels, on the site of the patrimonial domain, in order to reconstruct it, starting in 1631, on a regular plan outlined by Jacques Lemercier (1585-1654). The work was directed by the latter’s brother, Pierre Lemercier, who provided the plans of the chateau and the town in its entirety.]. A whole series of artifical towns were built where previously there was nothing. How is it built? The famous form of the Roman camp is used, which, along with the military institution, was being reutilized at this time as a fundamental instrument of discipline. [...] In the case of towns constructed in the form of the camp, we can say that the town is not thought of on the basis of the larger territory, but on the basis of a smaller, geometric figure, which is a kind of architectural module, namely the square or rectangle, which is in turn subdivided into other squares or rectangles.
...an important problem for towns in the eighteenth century was allowing for surveillance, since the suppression of city walls made necessary by economic development meant that one could no longer close towns in the evening or closely supervise daily comings and goings, so that the insecurity of the towns was increased by the influx of the floating population of beggars, vagrants, delinquents, criminals, thieves, murderers, and so on, who might come, as everyone knows, from the country... . In other words, it was a matter of organizing circulation, eliminating its dangerous elements... .
As you well know, the milieu is a notion that only appears in biology with Lamarck. However, it is a notion that already existed in physics and was employed by Newton and the Newtonians [note: See G. Canguilhem, ibid. pp. 129-130: “Considered historically, the notion and word milieu were imported into biology from mechanics in the second half of the eighteenth century. The mechanical notion, but not the word, appears with Isaac Newton, and the word, with its mechanical meaning, is present in D’Alembert’s and Diderot’s Encyclopedia. ( ... ) The French mechanists called milieu what Newton understood by fluid, the type, if not the archetype, of which in Newton’s physics is the ether.” Canguilhem explains that it is through the intermediary of Buffon that Lamarck borrows from Newton the explanatory model of an organic reaction through the action of a milieu. On the emergence of the idea of milieu in the second half of the eighteenth century, through the notion of “penetrating forces (forces pénétrantes)” (Buffon), see Foucault, Histoire de la folie, pp. 385-392; Madness and Civilization, pp. 212-220. (“A negative notion... which appeared in the eighteenth century to explain variations and diseases rather than adaptations and convergences. As if these "penetrating forces" formed the other, negative side of what will subsequently become the positive notion of milieu” p. 385]. What is the milieu? It is what is needed to account for action at a distance of one body on another. It is therefore the medium of an action and the element in which it circulates. It is therefore the problem of circulation and causality that is at stake in this notion of milieu. So, I think the architects, the town planners, the first town planners of the eighteenth century, did not actually employ the notion of milieu, since, as far as I [can] see, it is never employed to designate towns or planned spaces. On the other hand, if the notion does not exist, I would say that the technical schema of this notion of milieu, the kind of-- how to put it?-- pragmatic structure which marks it out in advance is present in the way in which the town planners try to reflect and modify urban space. The apparatuses of security work, fabricate, organize, and plan a milieu even before the notion was formed and isolated. The milieu, then, will be that in which circulation is carried out. [...] ...the milieu appears as a field of intervention in which... on tries to affect, precisely, a population.
It seems to me that with this technical problem posed by the towns... we see the sudden emergence of the problem of the "naturalness" of the human species within an artificial milieu. [...] [With regard to] this idea of an artificial and natural milieu, in which artifice functions as a nature in relation to a population... we find in Moheau’s Recherches sur la population a statement of this kind: “It is up to the government to change the air temperature and to improve the climate; a direction given to stagnant water, forests planted or burnt down, mountains destroyed by time or by the continual cultivation of their surface, create a new soil and a new climate. The effect of time, of occupation of the land, and of vicissitudes in the physical domain, is such that the most healthy districts become morbific.” He refers to a verse in Virgil concerning wine freezing in barrels, and says: Will we ever see wine freeze in barrels today in Italy? Well, if there has been so much change, it is not the climate that has changed; the political and economic interventions of government have altered the course of things to the point that nature itself has constituted for man, I was going to say another milieu, except that the word “milieu” does not appear in Moheau. In conclusion he says: “If the unknown principle that forms the character and the mind is the outcome of the climate, the regime, the customs, and the habit of certain actions, we can say that sovereigns, by wise laws, by useful establishments, through the inconvenience of taxes, and the freedom resulting from their suppression, in short by their example, govern the physical and moral existence of their subjects. Perhaps one day we will be able to call on these means to give whatever hue we wish to morality and the national spirit.” [see Comte]
18 January 1978
I would now like to resume this analysis of apparatuses of security with another example in order to pick out something that is no longer the relationship to space and the milieu, but the relationship of government to the event. I will take straightaway the example of scarcity. [...] The immediate and most perceptible consequences of scarcity appear first of all, of course, in the urban milieu, since it is always relatively less difficult to withstand food shortage – relatively – in a rural milieu. Anyway, it appears in the urban milieu and, with great probability, almost immediately leads to revolt. Now after the experiences of the seventeenth century, urban revolt is, for sure, the major thing for government to avoid. So it is the scourge of the population on one side, and, on the other, catastrophe, crisis if you like, for government.
Generally speaking, if we simply want to situate the kind of philosophical-political horizon that is the background against which scarcity appears, I would say that, like all scourges, [it] is taken up in the two categories by which political thought tried to think about inevitable misfortune. [First], the old Greco-Latin concept of fortune, of bad fortune. After all, food shortage is misfortune in the pure state, since its most immediate, most apparent factor is bad weather, drought, ice, excessive humidity, or anyway everything outside of one’s control. [...] So, scarcity appears as one of the fundamental forms of bad fortune for a people and for a sovereign.
Second, the other philosophical and moral framework for thinking
about scarcity is man’s evil nature. This is linked to phenomena of
scarcity insofar as scarcity is seen as a punishment [note: See, for example, N. Delamare, Traité de la police (Paris: M. Brunet, 1722, 2nd ed.) vol. II, pp. 294-295: “It is often one of those salutary scourges that God employs to punish us and make us return to our duty. ( ... ) God often makes use of secondary causes in order to exercise his Justice here below... . Also, whether they [scarcity, famine] are sent to us by heaven with a view to correcting us, or they arrive in the usual way by nature, or through men’s malice, in appearance they are always the same, but always part of the order of Providence.”]. However, in a more concrete and precise way, man’s evil nature will have an influence on scarcity by figuring as one of its sources, inasmuch as men’s greed – their need to earn, their desire to earn even more, their egoism – causes the phenomena of hoarding, monopolization, and withholding merchandise, which intensify the phenomena of scarcity [note: On this “greed” imputed to monopolizing merchants who, according to an explanation frequently invoked by the police and the people under the Ancien Régime, were the essential cause of shortages and sudden price rises, see, for example, N. Delamare, ibid. p. 390, with regard to the subsistence crisis of 1692-93: “"But," reported Delamare, [although a blight in the Spring of 1692 had only ruined half of the prospective harvest] "since only a pretext is necessary to determine evil-intentioned Merchants, always avid for gain, to exaggerate matters pertaining to dearth, they did not fail to profit from this one; they were immediately observed resuming their ordinary style and putting into use again all their bad practices for making the price of grain go up; associations, dashes into the Provinces, false rumors spread about, monopolies through purchases of all the grain, overbidding in the markets, downpayments on grain still uncut or in the barns and granaries, retention in the magazines; thus the whole commerce was reduced to a certain number among them who made themselves its master"” quoted by S.L. Kaplan, Bread, Politics and Political Economy in the Reign of Louis XV (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1976) Vol. one, pp. 55-56; French translation by M.-A. Revellat, Le Pain, le Peuple et le Roi (Paris: Perrin, “Pour l’histoire”, 1986).]. The juridical-moral concept of evil human nature, of fallen nature, and the cosmological-political concept of fortune are the two general frameworks for thinking about scarcity.
For a long time scarcity was countered by a system that I would say was both juridical and political, a system of legality and a system of regulations, which was basically intended to prevent food shortage... . This is a... system that... takes the classical forms you are familiar with: price control, and especially control of the right to store; the prohibition of hoarding with the consequent necessity of immediate sale; limits on export, the prohibition of sending grain abroad with, as the simple restriction on this, the limitation of the extent of land under cultivation, because if the cultivation of grains is too extensive, the surplus from this abundance will result in a collapse of prices, so that the peasants will not break even. So, there are a series of controls on prices, storing, export, and cultivation. [...] As you know, regulation... is the great political principle that was developed, organized, and systematized throughout what we can call the mercantilist period, if by mercantilism we understand those techniques of government and management of the economy that practically dominated Europe from the start of the seventeenth until the start of the eighteenth century.
Cont. p. 33
What happens in the eighteenth century, when there is the attempt to unblock this system? Everyone knows, and it is undeniably correct, that it is within a new conception of the economy, and maybe even within the founding act of economic thought and economic analysis represented by the physiocratic doctrine, that freedom of commerce and of the circulation of grain began to be laid down as the fundamental principle of economic government [c.f. François Quesnay]. [...] It seems to me that it would be fairly easy to show that... what led to the great edicts or "declarations" of the years 1754-1764, maybe through and thanks to... the support of the physiocrats and their theory, was in reality a complete change, or rather a phase in a major change in the techniques of government and an element in the deployment of what I will call apparatuses of security. In other words, you could read the principle of the free circulation of grain as... an episode in the mutation of technologies of power and an episode in the installment of this technique of apparatuses of security that seems to me to be one of the typical features of modern societies.
...the freedom of grain was one of the major political and theoretical problems in eighteenth century France.
So, there is a whole package of texts, projects, programs... . I will refer to just one of these, which is both the most schematic and clearest and was, moreover, very important. It is a text dating from 1763 called Lettre d'un negociant sur la nature du commerce des grains. It was written by Louis-Paul Abeille, who is important both for the influence his text exerted and by the fact that, as a disciple of Gournay, he actually combined most of the physiocratic positions. He represents, then, a [sort] of pitoval position in the economic thought of that time. [...] ...instead of considering it [Abeilles text] in terms of an archaeology of knowledge, I would like to consider it from the perspective of a genealogy of technologies of power.
I think the first thing to appear would be that, for Abeille, [and] the physiocrats,... the very thing that in the juridical-disciplinary system was to be avoided at any cost,... namely scarcity and high prices, was basically not an evil at all. And it should not be thought of as an evil, that is to say, it should be considered as a phenomenon that, in the first place, is natural, and so consequently, secondly, neither good nor evil. It is what it is. [...] The event on which one tries to get a hold will be the reality of grain, much more than the obsessive fear of scarcity. On this reality of grain,... with all the fluctuations and events that may, as it were,... divert it from an ideal line, one will try to graft an apparatus so that fluctuations of abundance and cheapness, of scarcity and dearness, are not prevented in advance or prohibited by a juridical and disciplinary system that, by preventing from this and constraining to that, seek to avoid them. Abeille, the physiocrats, and the economic theorists of the eighteenth century, tried to arrive at an apparatus (dispositif) for arranging things so that, by connecting up with the very reality of these fluctuations, and by establishing a series of connections with other elements of reality, the phenomenon is gradually compensated for, checked, finally limited, and, in the final degree, cancelled out, without it being prevented or losing any of its reality. In other words, by working within the reality of fluctuations between abundance/scarcity, dearness/cheapness, and not by trying to prevent it in advance, an apparatus is installed, which is, I think, precisely an apparatus of security and no longer a juridical-disciplinary system.
25 January 1978
What seemed to me important and very typical of mechanisms of security concerning scarcity, was precisely that whereas the juridical-disciplinary regulations that reigned until the middle of the eighteenth century tried to prevent the phenomenon of scarcity [through the instruments of laws and regulations], ...with the physiocrats as well as many other economists, there was the attempt to find a point of support in the processes of scarcity themselves, in the kind of quantitative fluctuations that sometimes produced abundance and sometimes scarcity: finding support in the reality of the phenomenon, and instead of trying to prevent it, making other elements of reality function in relation to it, in such a way that the phenomenon is canceled out, as it were.
....it really is the problem of the town that is, I think, at the heart of these different examples of mechanisms of security. [...] ...the town.. represents a sort of autonomous zone in relation to the major organizations and mechanisms of territorial power typical of a power developed on a feudal basis.
...with the physiocrats and, more generally, with the eighteenth century economists, I think the population no longer appears as a collection of subjects... who must obey the sovereign's will through the intermediary of regulations, laws, edicts, and so on. It will be considered as a set of processes to be managed at the level and on the basis of what is natural in these processes.
But what does this "naturalness" of the population signify?
The population appears... as a kind of thick natural phenomenon in relation to the sovereign's legalistic voluntarism.
...a completely different technique is emerging that is not getting subjects to obey the sovereign's will, but having a hold on things that seems far removed from the population, but which, through calculation, analysis, and reflection, one knows can really have an effect on it.
...according to the first theorists of population in the eighteenth century, there is at least one invariant that means that the population taken as a whole has one and only one mainspring of action. This is desire. As Quesnay says: You cannot stop people from living where they think they will profit most and where they desire to live, because they desire that profit. Do not try to change them; things will not change. ...this desire is such that, if one gives it free play, and on condition that it is given free play, all things considered, within a certain limit and thanks to a number of relationships and connections, it will produce the general interest of the population. Desire is the pursuit of the individual's interest. In his desire the individual may well be deceived regarding his personal interest, but there is something that does not deceive, which is that the spontaneous or at any rate both spontaneous and regulated play of desire will in fact allow the production of an interest, of something favorable for the population. The production of the collective interest through the play of desire is what distinguishes both the naturalness of population and the possible artificiality of the means one adopts to manage it [editors note: see Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759].
This is important because you can see that with this idea of a management of population on the basis of the naturalness of their desire, and of the spontaneous production of the collective interest by desire, we have something that is completely the opposite of the old ethical-juridical conception of government and the exercise of sovereignty. [...] The problem is not... the limit of concupiscence or the limit of self-esteem in the sense of love of oneself [as it use to be], but concerns rather everything that stimulates and encourages this self-esteem, this desire, so that it can produce its necessary beneficial effects. We have here therefore the matrix of an entire, lets say, utilitarian philosophy [Note: see The Birth of Biopolitics, lecture 17 January 1979]. [...] I would say that utilitarian philosophy was the theoretical instrument that underpinned the government of populations, which was something new at this time.
The population is not, then, a collection of juridical subjects in an individual or collective relationship with a sovereign will. It is a set of elements in which... we can identify the universal of desire regularly producing the benefit of all, and with regard to which we can identify a number of modifiable variables on which it depends. [...] We have a population whose nature is such that the sovereign must deploy reflected procedures of government within this nature, with the help of it, and with regard to it. [...] The dimension in which the population is immersed amongst the other living beings appears and is sanctioned when, for the first time, men are no longer called "mankind (le genre humaine)" and begin to be called "the human species (l'espece humaine)." [...] From one direction, then, population is the human species, and from another it is what will be called the public. Here again, the word is not new, but its usage is [See Habermas's The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society]. The public, which is a crucial notion in the eighteenth century, is the population seen under the aspect of its opinions, ways of doing things, forms of behavior, customs, fears, prejudices, and requirements; it is what one gets a hold on through education, campaigns, and convictions. The population is therefore everything that extends from biological rootedness through the species up to the surface that gives one a hold provided by the public. From the species to the public; we have here a whole field of new realities in the sense that they are the pertinent element for mechanisms of power, the pertinent space within which and regarding which one must act.
The more I have spoken about population, the more I have stopped saying "sovereign." I was led to designate or aim at something that again I think is relatively new... . ...the privilege that government begins to exercise... to the extent that... it will be possible one day to say, "the king reigns, but he does not govern,"... the fact that government is basically much more than sovereignty, much more than reigning or ruling, much more than the imperium, is, I think, absolutely linked to the population. I think that the series, mechanisms of security--population--government and the opening up of the field that we call politics, should be analyzed.
...when it became possible not only to introduce population into the field of economic theory, but also into economic practice, when it became possible to introduce into the analysis of wealth this new subject, this subject-object, with its demographic aspects, but also with the aspect of the specific role of producers and consumers, owners and non-owners, those who create profit and those who take it, when the entry of this subject-object, of population, became possible within the analysis of wealth, with all its disruptive effects in the field of economic reflection and practice, then I think the result was that one ceased analyzing wealth and a new domain of knowledge, political economy, was opened up. After all, one of Quesnay's fundamental texts is in fact the article "Hommes" in the Encyclopedie, and throughout his work Quesnay never stopped saying that real economic government was government that concerned itself with the population.
1 February 1978
...in the last lectures we were concerned with the establishment of the series security--population--government. I would now like to begin to make a bit of an inventory of this problem of government.
There was, of course, no shortage of treatises in the Middle Ages and in Greco-Roman antiquity that presented themselves as advice to the prince, concerning how he should conduct himself, exercise power, and obtain the acceptance or respect of his subjects, on the love of God and obedience to him, the enforcement of his law in the cities of men, and so on [c.f. the 'Mirrors of Princes']. But I think it is quite striking that, from the sixteenth century, and throughout the period going roughly from the middle of the sixteenth to the end of the eighteenth century, there is a flourishing development of a significant series of treatises that do not exactly present themselves as advice to the prince, nor yet as political science, but which, between advice to the prince and treatises of political science, are presented as arts of government.
I would like to pick out just some noteworthy points in what is an immense, as well as monotonous, literature. I would like to pick out the points concerning the actual definition of the government of the state, of what we would call, if you like, the political form of government. The simplest way of identifying some of these noteworthy points would no doubt be to compare this mass of literature on government with a text that from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century was a sort of constant point of repulsion (point de répulsion) for this literature on government. This abominable text, in relation to which, by opposition [to which], and [through the] rejection of which the literature of government situated itself, is obviously Machiavelli’s The Prince.
Broadly speaking, from between the lines of these implicitly or explicitly, anti-Machiavellian treatises, The Prince emerges as a treatise on the Prince’s ability to hold on to his principality. The anti-Machiavellian literature wanted to replace this ability, this know-how, with something different and new: an art of government.
...I will take one of the first texts in this large anti-Machiavellian literature, Guillaume de La Perrière’s, Le Miroir politique, contenant diverses manières de gouverner,* from 1555. In this text... some important things are... outlined. First, what does La Perrière understand by “to govern” and “governor”; how does he define these terms? On page 23 of his text he says: “Governor may be applied to any monarch, emperor, king, prince, lord, magistrate, prelate, judge, and the like.” Like La Perrière, others who write about the art of government also recall that we also talk about “governing” a household, souls, children, a province, a convent, a religious order, and a family.
...in these authors we see that governing, the people who govern, and the practice of government, are multifarious since many people govern – the father of a family, the superior in a convent, the teacher, the master in relation to the child or disciple – so that there are many governments in relation to which the Prince governing his state is only one particular mode. [...] There is then... a plurality of forms of government..., a multiplicity and immanence of this activity that radically distinguishes it from the transcendent singularity of Machiavelli’s Prince.
Certainly, among all these forms of government that are caught up, intertwined, and tangled together within society and the state, there is a specific form that has to be identified, that of the government to be applied to the state as a whole. Thus, a bit later than La Perrière, in the following century, trying to produce a typology of different forms of government, François La Mothe Le Vayer, in a series of pedagogical texts written for the French Dauphin, will say that there are basically three types of government, each of them falling under a science or particular form of reflection: the government of oneself, which falls under morality; the art of properly governing a family, which is part of economy; and finally, the “science of governing well” the state, which belongs to politics. [...] What is important here is that, notwithstanding this typology, these arts of government refer to and postulate an essential continuity from one to the other.
The art of government essentially appears in this literature as having to answer the question of how to introduce economy – that is to say, the proper way of managing individuals, goods, and wealth, like the management of a family by a father who knows how to direct his wife, his children, and his servants, who knows how to make his family’s fortune prosper, and how to arrange suitable alliances for it – how to introduce this meticulous attention, this type of relationship between father and the family, into the management of the state? The essential issue of government will be the introduction of economy into political practice. And if this is true in the sixteenth century, it is still the case in the eighteenth. In his article on “Political Economy,” it is quite clear that Rousseau still poses the problem in the same terms, saying roughly: The word “economy” originally designates “the wise government of the house for the common good of the whole family” [Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discours sur l’économie politique (1755)]. The problem, Rousseau says, is how to introduce this wise government of the family, mutatis mutandis,... within the general management of the state. To govern a state will thus mean the application of economy, the establishment of an economy, at the level of the state as a whole, that is to say, [exercising] supervision and control over its inhabitants, wealth, and the conduct of all and each, as attentive as that of a father’s over his household and goods.
An expression that was important in the eighteenth century describes this very well. Quesnay speaks of good government as “economic government.”
...still in Guillaume de La Perrière’s text, there is the following [phrase]: “Government is the right disposition of things arranged so as to lead to a suitable end.” [...] “Government is the right disposition of things”: I would like to dwell a little on this word “things,” because when we look for what characterizes the objects on which power bears in Machiavelli’s The Prince, we see that the object, the target of power is, on the one hand, a territory, and, [on the other], its inhabitants.
Now we can see that in La Perrière’s text the definition of government does not refer to the territory in any way: one governs things. What does La Perrière mean when he says that government governs “things”? ...government is not related to the territory, but to a sort of complex of men and things.
That government is concerned with things understood in this way as the intrication of men and things is readily confirmed by the inevitable metaphor of the ship that is always invoked in these treatises on government. What is it to govern a ship? It involves, of course, being responsible for the sailors, but also taking care of the vessel and the cargo; governing a ship also involves taking winds, reefs, storms, and bad weather into account. [...] It is the same for a household.
...it is not a matter of imposing a law on men, but of the disposition of things, that is to say, of employing tactics rather than laws, or, of as far as possible employing laws as tactics; arranging things so that this or that end may be achieved through a certain number of means.
However, in truth, this art of government could not acquire its full scope and consistency before the eighteenth century. It remained imprisoned, as it were, within the forms of the administrative monarchy.
What can the end of government be? Certainly not just to govern, but to improve the condition of the population, to increase its wealth, its longevity, and its health. [...] Population, then, appears as the end and instrument of government... : it is the subject of needs and aspirations, but also the object of government manipulation; vis-à-vis government, [population] is both aware of what it wants and unaware of what is being done to it. Interest as the consciousness of each of the individuals making up the population, and interest as the interest of the population, whatever the individual interests and aspirations may be of those who comprise the population, will be the ambiguous fundamental target and instrument of the government of populations. This is the birth of an art, or anyway, of absolutely new tactics and techniques.
The constitution of a knowledge (savoir) of government is absolutely inseparable from the constitution of a knowledge of all the processes revolving around population in the wider sense of what we now call “the economy.” ...a new science called “political economy” and, at the same time, a characteristic form of governmental intervention, that is, intervention in the field of the economy and population, will be brought into being by reference to this continuous and multiple network of relationships between the population, the territory, and wealth. In short, the transition from an art of government to political science, the transition in the eighteenth century from a regime dominated by structures of sovereignty to a regime dominated by techniques of government revolves around population, and consequently around the birth of political economy.
...if I had wanted to give the lectures I am giving this year a more exact title, I certainly would not have chosen “security, territory, population.” What I would really like to undertake is something that I would call a history of “governmentality.”
I will now try to show you how this governmentality was born, from the archaic model of the Christian pastorate... .
8 February 1978
...the first methodological principle is to move outside the institution and replace it with the overall point of view of the technology of power.
Can we cross over to the outside of the state as we could, without great difficulty, with regard to these different institutions [i.e., Psychiatric Hospitals, Prisons]? Is there an encompassing point of view with regard to the state as there was with regard to local and definite institutions? I think this type of question cannot fail to arise, be it only as the result, the necessity implied by precisely what I have just been saying. After all, do not these general technologies of power, which we have attempted to reconstruct by moving outside the institution, ultimately fall under a global, totalizing institution that is, precisely, the state? By stepping outside these local, regional, and precise institutions of the hospital, the prison, or families, are we not referred back, quite simply, to another institution, so that we will have abandoned institutional analysis only to be enjoined to enter into another type of institutional analysis in which, precisely, the state is the stake?
Is it possible to move outside? Is it possible to place the modern state in a general technology of power that assured its mutations, development, and functioning? Can we talk of something like a “governmentality” that would be to the state what techniques of segregation were to psychiatry, what techniques of discipline were to the penal system... ? These are the kind of questions that are at stake [in these lectures].
In Greek literature... , there is the fairly frequent metaphor of the rudder, the helmsman, the pilot, and the person who steers the ship, to designate the activity of the person who is the head of the city-state and who has a number of duties and responsibilities with regard to the city. Take, for example, Oedipus the King [see also Antigone]. In Oedipus the King, frequently, or at several points, there is the metaphor of the king who is responsible for the city-state and must conduct it as a good pilot properly governs his ship, avoiding reefs and guiding it to port. But in these metaphors, which identify the king as a helmsman and the city as a ship, we should note that what is governed, what the metaphor designates as the object of government, is the city-state itself, which is like a ship
threatened by reefs, a ship caught in the storm, a ship that has to steer a course avoiding pirates and enemies, and a ship that must be lead to safe harbor. Individuals are not the object of government; the action of government is not brought to bear on individuals. The captain or pilot of the ship does not govern the sailors; he governs the ship. In the same way, the king governs the city-state, but not the men of the city. The object or target of government is the city-state in its substantial reality, its unity, and its possible survival or disappearance. Men are only governed indirectly, insofar as they have boarded the ship. And men are governed through the intermediary or relay of boarding the ship. But it is not men themselves who are directly governed by the person who is the head of the city-state.
...I do not think that the idea that one could govern men, or that one did govern men, was a Greek idea. [...] ...generally speaking, I think we can say that the origin of the idea of a government of men should be sought in the East, in a pre-Christian East first of all, and then in the Christian East, and in two forms: first, in the idea and organization of a pastoral type of power, and second, in the practice of spiritual direction, the direction of souls.
First, the idea and organization of a pastoral power. The theme of the king, god, or chief as a shepherd (berger) of men, who are like his flock, is frequently found throughout the Mediterranean East. It is found in Egypt, Assyria, Mesopotamia, and above all, of course, in the Hebrews. In Egypt, for example, but also in the Assyrian and Babylonian monarchies, the king is actually designated, in a completely ritual way, as the shepherd (berger) of men. On his coronation, for example, the Pharaoh receives the insignia of the shepherd. The shepherd’s crook is placed in his hands and he is declared the shepherd of men. The title of shepherd (pâtre) or pastor (pasteur) of men, is one of the royal titles for the Babylonian monarchs. It was also a term designating the relationship of the gods, or god, with men. God is the pastor of men. In an Egyptian hymn, we can read something like this: “Oh Ra who keeps watch when all men sleep, who seeks what is good for your flock ...” God is the shepherd (berger) of men.
Obviously, the theme of pastorship is especially developed and intensified in the Hebrews, with the particular characteristic that in the Hebrews the shepherdflock relationship is essentially, fundamentally, and almost exclusively a religious relationship. Only the relations between God and his people are defined as relations between a shepherd (pasteur) and a flock. No Hebrew king, with the exception of David, the founder of the monarchy, is explicitly referred to by name as a shepherd (berger). The term is reserved for God. [...] The pastoral relationship in its full and positive form is therefore essentially the relationship of God to men. It is a religious type of power that God exercises over his people.
I think there is something in this that is fundamental, and probably specific, to the Mediterranean East, and which is very different from what is found in the Greeks. You never find the Greeks having the idea that the gods lead men like a pastor, a shepherd, leads his flock.
What is it, then, that characterizes this power of the shepherd, which we can see is foreign to Greek thought, but present and intense in the Mediterranean East, especially in the Hebrews? What are its specific features? I think we can summarize them in the following way. The shepherd’s power is not exercised over a territory but, by definition, over a flock, and more exactly, over the flock in its movement from one place to another. The shepherd’s power is essentially exercised over a multiplicity in movement. The Greek god is a territorial god, a god intra muros, with his privileged
place, his town or temple. The Hebrew God, on the other hand, is the God moving from place to place, the God who wanders. The presence of the Hebrew God is never more intense and visible than when his people are on the move, and when, in his people’s wanderings, in the movement that takes them from the town, the prairies, and pastures, he goes ahead and shows his people the direction they must follow.
...pastoral power is fundamentally a beneficent power. You will say that this is part of all religious, moral, and political descriptions of power. [...] What kind of power would not have the function, purpose, and justification of doing good? It is a universal feature, except that, nonetheless, in Greek thought anyway, and I think also in Roman thought, the duty to do good was ultimately only one of the many components characterizing power. Power is characterized as much by its omnipotence, and by the wealth and splendor of the symbols with which clothes itself, as by its beneficence. Power is defined by its ability to triumph over enemies, defeat them, and reduce them to slavery. Power is also defined by the possibility of conquest and by the territories, wealth, and so on it has accumulated.
However, pastoral power is, I think, entirely defined by its beneficence; its only raison d’être is doing good, and in order to do good. In fact the essential objective of pastoral power is the salvation (salut) of the flock. [...] Pastoral power is a power of care. It looks after the flock, it looks after the individuals of the flock, it sees to it that the sheep do not suffer, it goes in search of those that have strayed of course, and it treats those that are injured.
The shepherd is someone who keeps watch. He “keeps watch” in the sense, of course, of keeping an eye out for possible evils, but above all in the sense of vigilance with regard to any possible misfortune.
The shepherd (pasteur) serves the flock and must be an intermediary between the flock and pasture, food, and salvation, which implies that pastoral power is always a good in itself.
I think the structures of the Greek city-state and the Roman Empire were entirely foreign to this type of power.
...the idea of a pastoral power, which is entirely foreign, or at any rate considerably foreign to Greek and Roman thought, was introduced into the Western world by way of the Christian Church. The Christian Church coagulated all these themes of pastoral power into precise mechanisms and definite institutions, it organized a pastoral power that was both specific and autonomous, it implanted its apparatuses within the Roman Empire, and at the heart of the Empire it organized a type of power that I think was unknown to any other civilization. This really is the paradox and the subject on which I would like to focus in the next lectures. Of all civilizations, the Christian West has undoubtedly been, at the same time, the most creative, the most conquering, the most arrogant, and doubtless the most bloody. At any rate, it has certainly been one of the civilizations that has deployed the greatest violence.
15 February 1978
This is not finished work, it is not even work that’s been done; it is work in progress, with all that this involves in the way of inaccuracies and hypotheses – in short, it amounts to possible tracks for you, if you wish, and maybe for myself, to follow.
So, last week I laid some stress on this theme of the pastorate and tried to show you that the use of shepherd-flock relationship to designate the relationship of either God, of the divinity, to men, or of the sovereign to his subjects, was undoubtedly a frequent theme in Pharaonic Egyptian literature, but also in Assyrian literature, and in any case was a very insistent theme in the Hebrews, while on the other hand it did not seem that this shepherd-flock relationship had such importance for the Greeks. [...] I think a number of objections can be made to this, and last week someone approached me to say that he did not agree with me on this theme, on this point. So, if it’s okay with you, I would like to spend some time and try to plot out a bit this problem of the shepherd-flock relationship in Greek literature and thought.
...the metaphor of the shepherd is rare in what is called the classical political vocabulary of Greece.
It is rare, with the one obvious, major and crucial exception of Plato. There you have a whole series of texts in which the good magistrate, the ideal magistrate is seen as the shepherd (berger). To be a good shepherd (pasteur) is to be not only the good magistrate, but quite simply the true, ideal magistrate. You find this in Critias, The Republic, The Laws, and The Statesman. I think The Statesman should be examined separately. Let us leave it aside for a moment and take up the other texts in which Plato employs the metaphor of the shepherdmagistrate.
What do we see? I think in these other texts, apart from The Statesman that is, the metaphor of the shepherd is employed in three ways.
First of all it is used to designate the specific, full and blessed power of the gods over humanity in the earliest time of its existence, before the time of misfortune or harshness changed its condition. The gods really were the original shepherds (pâtres) of humanity, its pastors. It was the gods who nurtured [men], who guided them, provided them with food, gave them their general principles of conduct, and watched over their happiness and well-being.
Second, there are also texts in which the magistrates of the present,
hard time following the great happiness of humanity presided over by the gods, is also seen as a shepherd. [...] In Book 10 of The Laws, the magistrate-shepherd is, on the one hand, opposed to the beasts of prey he must keep away from his flock, but on the other hand, he is equally distinct from the masters at the summit of the state.* So, he is a functionary-shepherd, of course, but only a functionary. That is to say, it is not so much the very essence of the political function, the very essence of power in the city-state, that the shepherd represents, but merely a lateral function that in The Statesman is called, precisely, auxiliary.†
Finally, the third series of texts, still from Plato, but with the exception of The Statesman, is taken from The Republic, particularly the discussion with Thrasymachus in Book One, in which Thrasymachus says, as if it were obvious, or a commonplace, a familiar theme at least: Yes, of course, we will say that the good magistrate is one who is a genuine shepherd. But then, let’s take a look at what the shepherd does. Do you really think, says Thrasymachus, that the shepherd is the man who is essentially and even exclusively concerned with the good of his flock? The shepherd only troubles himself insofar as it profits him; he only puts himself out for his animals in view of the day when he will be able to sacrifice them, cut their throats, or at any rate sell them. The shepherd acts as he does from egoism and pretends to devote himself to his animals. So, Thrasymachus says, comparison with the shepherd really is not appropriate for describing the virtue necessary for the magistrate.‡ Thrasymachus is answered: But you are not defining the good shepherd, the true shepherd, or even the shepherd at all, but the caricature of the shepherd. An egoistic shepherd is a contradiction in terms. The true shepherd is precisely someone who devotes himself entirely to his flock and does not think of himself.
This is precisely the theme that is debated in the great text of The Statesman, for I think the function of this text is precisely to pose directly and head on, as it were, the problem of whether one can really describe and analyze, not this or that magistrate in the city-state, but the magistrate par excellence, or rather the very nature of the political power exercised in the city-state, on the basis of the model of the shepherd’s action and power over his flock. Can politics really correspond to this form of the shepherd-flock relationship? This is the fundamental question, or anyway one of the fundamental dimensions of The Statesman. The whole text answers “no” to this question, and with a no that seems to me sufficiently detailed for us to see it as a full rebuttal of what Delatte called, wrongly it seems to me, a commonplace, but which should be recognized as a familiar theme into Pythagorean philosophy: The chief in the city-state must be the shepherd of the flock.
So, the rebuttal of this theme. I will just run through schematically the development of the argument in The Statesman. [...] Now what is it to give orders to a herd or flock of living beings, animals or men? Obviously, it is to be their shepherd or herdsman. So we have this definition: The politician is the shepherd (berger) of men, he is the shepherd (pasteur) of that flock of living beings that constitutes a population in a city-state. In its evident clumsiness it is fairly clear that this result registers, if not a commonplace, then at least a familiar opinion, and the problem of the dialogue will precisely be how one extricates oneself from this familiar theme.
The movement of freeing oneself from this familiar theme of the politician as the shepherd of the flock takes place... .
It is at this point that myth comes in. You are familiar with the myth of The Statesman. This is the idea that the world turns on itself, first in the right direction, or anyway in the direction of happiness, the natural direction, and then, when it has run its course, this is followed by a movement in the opposite direction, which is the movement of difficult times. Humanity lives in happiness and felicity so long as the world turns on its axis in the first direction. This is the age of Chronos. This is an age, Plato says, “that does not belong to the present constitution of the world, but to its earlier constitution.” [...] The deity is their pastor and, Plato’s text says, “because the deity was their pastor, they had no need of a political constitution.” Politics begins, therefore, precisely when this first age, during which the world turns in the right direction, comes to an end. Politics begins when the world turns in the opposite direction. When the world turns in the opposite direction, in fact, the deity withdraws, and difficult times begin. For sure, the gods do not completely abandon men, but they only help them in an indirect way, by giving them fire, the [arts], and so forth. They are no longer really the shepherds who were everywhere and immediately present in the first phase of humanity. The gods have withdrawn and men are obliged to direct each other, that is to say, they need politics and politicians. However, and here again Plato’s text is very clear, these men who are now in charge of other men are not above the flock in the way in which the gods are above humanity. They are themselves a part of humanity and therefore cannot be seen as shepherds.
...Since politics, the political, and politicians only arise when the old constitution of humanity has disappeared, that is to say when the age of the deity-pastor has come to an end, how will the role of the politician be defined, and in what will this art of giving orders to others consist? At this point, as an alternative to the model of the shepherd, the model of weaving, endlessly famous in political literature, is put forward. The politician is a weaver. [...] Against the, as it were, invariable and global theme of the shepherd,... the model of the weaver gives us instead an analytic schema of precisely those processes within the city-state that concern being in charge of men. [...] the art of politics is like the art of the weaver; it is not concerned with everything overall, as the shepherd is supposed to be concerned with the whole flock. Politics, like the art of the weaver, can only develop on the basis of and with the help of certain auxiliary or preparatory actions. For the weaver to carry out his task, the wool must have been sheared, the yarn must have been twisted, and the carder must have done his work. Similarly, a whole series of auxiliary arts are required to help the politician. Making war, giving good judgments in tribunals, as well as persuading assemblies with the art of rhetoric, are not exactly politics but the conditions of its practice.* What then is political action in the strict sense, the essence of the political, the politician, or rather the politician’s action? It will be to join together, as the weaver joins the warp and the weft. The politician will bind the elements together, the good elements formed by education; he will bind together the virtues in their different forms, which are distinct from and sometimes opposed to each other; he will weave and bind together different contrasting temperaments, such as, for example, spirited and moderate men; and he will weave them together thanks to the shuttle of a shared common opinion. So the royal art is not at all that of the shepherd, but the art of the weaver, which is an art that consists in bringing together these lives “in a community [I am quoting; M.F.] that rests on concord and friendship.”† In this way, with his specific art, very different from all the others, the political weaver forms the most magnificent fabric and “the entire population of the state, both slaves and free men,” Plato goes on to say, “are enveloped in the folds of this magnificent fabric.”
In this text I think we have the bona fide rebuttal of the theme of the pastorate.
With all the negative signs given by the absence of the theme of the shepherd in classical Greek political vocabulary, and by the explicit criticism of the theme by Plato, I think we have a fairly clear indication that Greek thought, Greek reflection on politics, excludes this positive valuation of the theme of the shepherd.
Given this, in the Western world I think the real history of the pastorate as the source of a specific type of power over men, as a model and matrix of procedures for the government of men, really only begins with Christianity. [...] ...the pastorate begins with a process that is absolutely unique in history and no other example of which is found in the history of any other civilization: the process by which a religion, a religious community, constitutes itself as a Church, that is to say, as an institution that claims to govern men in their daily life on the grounds of leading them to eternal life in the other world, and to do this not only on the scale of a definite group, of a city or a state, but of the whole of humanity. The Church is a religion that thus lays claim to the daily government of men in their real life on the grounds of their salvation and on the scale of humanity, and we have no other example of this in the history of societies.
...these great revolts [the Reformation and Counter-Reformation]... were actually bound up with a profound reorganization of pastoral power. [...] There have been anti-feudal revolutions; there has never been an anti-pastoral revolution. The pastorate has not yet experienced the process of profound revolution that would have definitively expelled it from history.
...it seems to me that the history of the pastorate has never really been undertaken. The history of ecclesiastical institutions has been written. The history of religious doctrines, beliefs, and representations has been written. There have also been attempts to produce the history of real religious practices, namely, when people confessed, took communion, and so on. But it seems to me that the history of the techniques employed, of the reflections on these pastoral techniques, of their development, application, and successive refinements, the history of the different types of analysis and knowledge linked to the exercise of pastoral power, has never really been undertaken. [...] Saint Gregory Nazianzen was the first to define this art of governing men by the pastorate as the technē technōn, epistemē epistemōn, the “art of arts,” the “science of sciences.” [Grégoire de Nazianze, Discours 2, 16, trans. J. Laplace (Paris: Cerf, “Sources chrétiennes,” 1978) p. 110-111; English translation by Charles Gordon Browne, Gregory Nazianzen, Orations, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7 (Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans, 1893) p. 208: “For the guiding of man, the most variable and manifold of creatures, seems to me in very deed to be the art of arts[technē technōn] and the science of sciences [epistemē epistemōn].”]
...the whole organization of the Church, from Christ to the abbots and bishops, presents itself as a pastoral organization. The powers held by the Church are given, I mean both organized and justified, as the shepherd’s power in relation to the flock. What is sacramental power? Of baptism? It is calling the sheep into the flock. Of communion? It is giving spiritual nourishment. Penance is the power of reintegrating those sheep that have left the flock. A power of jurisdiction, it is also a power of the pastor, of the shepherd. It is this power of jurisdiction, in fact, that allows the bishop as pastor, for example, to expel from the flock those sheep that by disease or scandal are liable to contaminate the whole flock. Religious power, therefore, is pastoral power.
...the absolutely fundamental and essential feature of this overall pastoral power is that throughout Christianity it remained distinct from political power. [...] It is... a form of power that really is a terrestrial power even though it is directed towards the world beyond. And yet, despite this, and leaving aside the Eastern Church, in the Western Church it has always remained a power that is completely distinct from [political] power.
I think pastoral power, its form, type of functioning, and internal technology, remains absolutely specific and different from political power, at least until the eighteenth century.
The pastor remained a figure exercising power over the mystical world; the king remained someone who exercised power over the imperial world.
22 February 1978
The modern state is born, I think, when governmentality became a calculated and reflected practice. The Christian pastorate seems to me to be the background of this process... .
How does the Christian pastorate claim to lead individuals to salvation? Let’s consider it in its most general, most banal form. A common feature of the Greek city-state and the Hebraic theme of the flock is that a common destiny envelops the people and the person who is their chief or guide. If the chief leads his flock astray, or if the magistrate does not direct the city-state well, the magistrate loses the city-state, or the shepherd his flock, but they too are lost along with it. They are saved with it and they are lost with it. This common destiny –again, the theme is found in the Greeks and the Hebrews – is justified by a sort of moral reciprocity in the sense that, when misfortunes rain down on the city-state, or when famine scatters the flock, who is responsible? Where, at any rate, should we look for its cause; what was the starting point for this misfortune? We should look, of course, to the shepherd, chief, or sovereign. If you look and search for the source of the plague at Thebes you find Oedipus; the king, the chief, the shepherd is the very source of the city’s misfortune. Conversely, what is the reason for a bad king or an unwise shepherd at the head of the flock or the city? The reason is that fortune, or destiny, or the god, Yahweh, wanted to punish the people for its ingratitude or the city for its injustice. The reason and justification for the historical event of a bad king or a bad shepherd is the sins or faults of the community or city. So in all of this we have a sort of total relationship, a common destiny, and reciprocal responsibility between the community and the person who is responsible for it.
... the Greek citizen... basically dose not let himself be directed, and is only prepared to be directed by two things: by the law ['injunctions of the city-state'] and by persuasion ['the rhetoric of men'].
The Christian pastorate has, I think, organized something completely different that seems to me to be foreign to Greek practice, and this is what we could call the insistence on “pure obedience,”... . [...] Everyone knows... that Christianity is not a religion of the law; it is a religion of God's will, a religion of what God wills for each in particular. Hence, of course, the fact that the pastor will not be the man of the law... . [...] The idea that the pastor is not a man of the law is... seen in the very early and constant comparison with the doctor. The pastor is not fundamentally or primarily a judge; he is essentially a doctor who has to take responcibility for each soul and for the sickness of each soul. [...] ...the Biblical texts always say that the pastor is someone who is concerned with each sheep individually and he sees to their salvation by giving the necessary care that is peculiar to each one. In addition to this theme of the pastor as someone who treats each case according to its specific characteristics, rather than as a man of the law, I think the relationship of the sheep to the person who directs it is one of complete subordination, which is... specific to the Christian pastorate and I do not think is found anywhere else.
This subordination of someone to someone else is, of course, institutionalized in monastic life in the relationship to the abbot or superior, or to the master of the novices. One of the fundamental points in the organization and planning of cenobite life from the fourth century was that every individual entering a monastic community be put in the hands of someone – the superior, the master of novices – who takes total charge of him and tells him what he must do at every moment. The novice’s perfection and merit ultimately consists in considering it a fault to do anything without having received an explicit order to do it.
...it is a relationship that is not finalized, in the sense that when a Greek entrusted himself to a doctor or a philosopher, it was in order to arrive at a particular result. This result could be knowledge of a craft, or some kind of perfection, or a cure, and obedience is only the necessary and not always agreeable route to this result. So in Greek obedience, or anyway in the fact that a Greek submits himself at a given moment to the will or orders of someone, there is always an objective – health, virtue, the truth – and an end, that is to say there will be a point when this relationship of obedience is suspended and even turned around. When one submits oneself to a philosophy professor, in Greece, it is in order to succeed in becoming master of oneself at a certain moment, that is to say to reverse this relationship of obedience and to become one’s own master. Now in Christian obedience, there is no end, for what does Christian obedience lead to? It leads quite simply to obedience. One obeys in order to be obedient, in order to arrive at a state§ of obedience. I think this notion of a state of obedience is also something completely new and specific that is absolutely unprecedented. The endpoint towards which the practice of obedience aims is what is called humility, which consists in feeling oneself the least of men, in taking orders from anyone, thus continually renewing the relationship of obedience, and above all in renouncing one’s own will. [...] Being humble is basically, and above all, knowing that any will of one’s own is a bad will. So if there is an end to obedience, it is a state of obedience defined by the definitive and complete renunciation of one’s own will. The aim of obedience is the mortification of one’s will; it is to act so that one’s will, as one’s own will, is dead, that is to say so that there is no other will but not to have any will. And this is how Saint Benedict defines good monks, in chapter V of his Rule: “They no longer live by their free will, ambulantes alieno judicio et imperio, in marching under the judgment and the imperium of another, they always desire that someone command them.”
cont. here, 178.
1 March 1978
...this set of techniques and procedures typical of the pastorate were given a name by the Greeks, the Greek fathers, and precisely by Gregory Nazianzen, and it is a quite remarkable name since [Gregory] called the pastorate, oikonomia psuchōn, that is to say, the economy of souls.* In other words, this Greek notion of economy, [Aristotle, Politics, 1, 3, 1253b] which was found in Aristotle and at that time designated the typical management of the family, of its goods and wealth, the management or direction of slaves, of the wife, and of children, and possibly the management, if you like, of clients, takes on a completely different dimension and a completely different field of references with the pastorate. It assumes a different dimension since in comparison with the fundamentally family economy in the Greeks – oikos is habitat – [the economy of souls] will take on the dimension, if not of all humanity, at least of the whole of Christendom. The economy of souls must bear on the whole Christian community and on each Christian in particular. As well as a change of dimension, there is a change of references, since it will be a matter not just of the prosperity and wealth of the family or household, but of the salvation of souls.
“Economy” is evidently not the French word best suited to translate oikonomia psuchōn. The Latins translated it as regimen animarum, “government or regimen (régime) of souls”... . [...] I think the least bad translation for the oikonomia psuchōn Gregory Nazianzen spoke about could perhaps be the conduct of souls, and I think that this notion of conduct, with the field it covers, is doubtless one of the fundamental elements introduced into Western society by the Christian pastorate.
8 March 1978
[Note: insert this quote by Napoleon to Goethe where Foucault invokes the idea of a rupture of the cosmo-theological view of government and the advent of the age of the 'politique' with its 'raison d'Etat': "What have we today to do with destiny? Policy is destiny."]
I will not try even to sketch the series of transformations that actually brought about the transition from this economy of souls to the government of men and populations. In the following lectures I would like to talk about some of the overall redistributions that confirmed this transition. All the same, since it is necessary to pay a minimum of homage to causality and the traditional principle of causality, I would just add that this transition from the pastoral of souls to the political government of men must be situated in a certain familiar context. In the first place, of course, the context was that of the great revolt, or rather the great series of pastoral revolts in the fifteenth century, and obviously especially in the sixteenth century, of what I call those "insurrections of conduct," the most radical form of which, and the form in which they were brought back under control, was the Protestant Reformation. [...] Anyway, I just want to note that this transition from the pastoral of souls to the political government of men should be situated in this general context of resistances, revolts, and insurrections of conduct.
...we should of course recall the two major types of reorganization of the religious pastoral, either in the form of the different Protestant communities, or, of course, in the form of the Catholic Counter Reformation. [...] We should also mention the inability of feudal structures, and of the forms of power connected to them, to cope with these struggles and put an end to them; and of course... we should talk again about the new economic, and consequently political relations for which feudal structures were no longer a sufficient and effective framework; and finally we should mention the disappearance of the two great poles of historical-religious sovereignty that dominated the West... the Empire and the Church that represented a sort of great spiritual and temporal pastorate above princes and kings. The break up of these two great complexes was one of the factors of the transformation I was talking about.
...I think we should note that the pastorate does not disappear in the sixteenth century. There is not even a massive, comprehensive transfer of pastoral functions from Church to state. What we see in reality is a much more complex phenomenon. [...] The Reformation as well as the Counter Reformation gave the religious pastorate much greater control, a much greater hold on the spiritual life of individuals than in the past... . The pastorate had never before intervened so much, had never had such a hold on the material, temporal, everyday life of individuals; it takes charge of a whole series of questions and problems concerning material life, property, and the education of children. So, there is an intensification of the religious pastorate in its spiritual dimensions and in its temporal extensions.
We should not forget that at this time we see the appearance, or rather reappearance, of the function that philosophy had in, let's say, the Hellenistic period, and which had effectively disappeared in the Middle Ages, that is to say, philosophy as the answer to the fundamental question of how to conduct oneself.
...there was not a transition from the religious pastorate to other forms of conduct, conduction, or directing. In fact there was an intensificatioan, increase, and general proliferation of this question and of these techniques of conduct. WIth the sixteenth century we enter the age of forms of conducting, directing, and government.
I would like to return for a moment to scholastic thought, and specifically to Saint Thomas [Aquinas] and the text in which he explains the nature of royal power [De regno]. [...] ...Saint Thomas draws support from a whole series of external models, which I will call analogies of government, to define what is comprised by this government that the monarch, the sovereign, must ensure.
What is meant by analogies of government? Insofar as he governs, the sovereign does nothing other than reproduce a model [that] is quite simply that of God's government on Earth. Saint Thomas explains: In what does the excellence of an art consist? To what extent is an art excellent? An art will be excellent insofar as it imitates nature. Now nature is ruled by God, for God created nature and continues to govern it all the time. The king's art will be excellent insofar as it imitates nature, that is say, insofar as it operates like God. And just as God created nature, the king will be the founder of the state or city, and just as God governs nature, the king will govern his state, city, or province [editors note: recall what Vico said in the eighteenth century: "God is the artificer of Nature, man the god of artificats."]. So, the first analogy is with God.
The second analogy... is with nature itself. There is nothing in the world, Saint Thomas says, or at any rate no living animal, whose body would not be exposed to loss, separation, and decomposition, if there were not some vital, guiding force within it holding together the different elements of which living bodies are composed and ordering them in terms of the common good. [...] The same applies to a kingdom. Each individual in a kingdom would strive for his own good, since one of man's characteristics, one of his essential features, is precisely that he strives for his own good. Everyone would strive for their own good and thus neglect the common good. Therefore there must be something in the kingdom that corresponds to the vital, guiding force in the organism, and this is the king, who turns each individual's tendency back from his own good towards the common good. "As in any multitude," says saint Thomas, "a direction is necessary that is responsible for regulating and governing." This is the... analogy of the king with an organism's vital force.
Finally, the third analogy... is with the pastor and the father of a family, for, Saint Thomas says, the final end of man is evidently not to be rich... . Ultimately, man strives for eternal bliss, the enjoyment of God. What, then, is the royal function? It must procure the common good of the multitude in accordance with a method that can obtain for it heavenly blessedness [Book I, ch. 16: "...the king's duty is therefore to secure the good life for the community in such a way as to ensure that it is led to the blessedness of heaven."]. [...] In his terrestrial and temporal decisions he must act in such a way that not only is the individual's eternal salvation not compromised, but also that it is possible. With the analogy with God, the analogy with nature, and the analogy with the pastor and father of a family, there is a sort of thelogical-cosmological continuum in the name of which the sovereign is authorized to govern and which provides models in accordance with which he must govern.
In the sixteenth century this great continuum in Saint Thomas's thought, which justifies the king's government of men, is broken. [...] Briefly, standing back a bit by means of some grand fictions, let's say that there was a sort of chiasmus... . Basically, the astronomy of Copernicus and Kepler, Galileo's physics, the natural history of John Ray, the Port Royal grammar.. well, one of the major effects of all these discursive practices... was to show that ultimately God only rules the world through general, immutable, and universal laws, through simple and intelligible laws that are accessible either in the form of measurement and mathematical anlysis, or in the form of classificatory analysis in the case of natural history, or in the form of logical analysis in the case of general grammar. What does it mean to say that God only rules the world through general, immutable, universal, simple, and intelligible laws? It means that God does not "govern" the world; he does not govern it in the pastoral sense. He reigns over the world in a sovereign manner through principles.
What is it to govern the world in a pastoral sense? [...] ...God's pastoral government of the world meant that the world was subject to an economy of salvation, that is to say, that it was made in order for man to earn his salvation. More precisely, it meant that the things of the world were made for man and that man was not made to live in this world, at any rate not definitely, but only in order to pass into another world. The world governed in a pastoral fashion according to a system of salvation was [therefore] a world of final causes that culminated in man who had to earn his salvation in this world. Final causes and anthropocentricism waws one of the forms, one of the manifestations, one fot he signs of God's pastoral government of the world.
Whenever God wished to intervene in the world for any particular reason, ...he forced beings to show his will through signs, prodigies, marvels, and monstrosities that were so many threats of chastisement, promises of salvation, or marks of election. A pastoral government of nature was therefore a nature peopled by prodigies, marvels, and signs.
Finally,... a world subject to pastoral government, as in the pastorate, was a world in which there was an entire system of truth: truth taught, on the one hand, and truth hidden and extracted on the other. [...] The world was a book, an open book in which one could discover the truth, or rather in which truths taught themselves, and they taught themselves essentially in the form of their reciprocal cross-references, that is to say, in the form of resemblance and analogy [See Chapter on Representing in Foucault's Order of Things, especially on similitude]. At the same time it was also a world in which it was necessary to decipher hidden truths that showed themselves by hiding and hid by showing themselves, that is to say, it was a world that was filled with ciphers to be decoded [i.e., the doctrine of signatures].
An entirely finalist world, an anthropocentric world, a world of prodigies, marvels, and signs, and finally a world of analogies and ciphers, constitute the manifest form of God's pastoral government of the world [which could be summed up in the word 'providence']. This is what disappeared. When? Precisely between 1580 and 1650, at the same time as the foundation of the classical episteme. This is what disappeared,... a world purged of its prodigies, marvels, and signs, and of a world that is laid out in terms of mathematical or classificatory forms of intelligibility that no longer pass through analogy and cipher, correspond to what I will call, in short-- please excuse the word-- a de-governmentalization of the cosmos.
...from 1580 to 1660, [a] completely different theme is developed [from those formulated by Aquinas]. [...] His [the sovereign's] task is not that of God in relation to nature, or of the soul in relation to the body, or of the pastor in relation to this flock, or of the father in relation to his children. His task is absolutely spcific: it consists in governing, and its model is found neither in God nor in nature. At the end of the sixteenth century, the emergence of the specificity of the level and form of government is expressed by the new problematization of what was called the res publica, the public domain or state (la chose publique). [...] It is more than sovereignty, it is supplementary in relation to sovereignty, and it is something other than the pastorate, and this something without a model, which must find its model, is the art of government. [...] Hence the point at issue, the fundamental question [posed] at the end of the sixteenth century: What is the art of government?
Let us summarise all this. On the one hand we have a level at which nature is severed from the governmental theme. There is now a nature that no longer tolerates government and that only allows the reign of a reason that is ultimately the common reason of God and men. This is a nature that only allows a reason that has fixed once and for all-- what? We would say "laws".... , it is not yet what are called "laws", [but] "principles," principia naturae. On the other hand there is a sovereignty over men that is required to take upon itself something specific that is not directly contained in it, which conforms to another model and another type of rationality, and this something extra is government, the government that must seek out its reason. So, on the one hand principia naturae, and, on the other, the reason of this government-- you are familiar with the expression-- ratio status. This is raison d'Etat. Principles of nature and raison d'Etat. And.. the Italians... were the first to define raison E'tat. At the end of the sixteenth century Botero writes: "The state is a firm domination over peoples"... . Raison d'Etat... "is the knowledge of the appropriate means for founding, preserving, and expanding such a domination." [...] ...he makes raison d'Etat the type of rationality that will allow the maintainance and preservation of the state once it has been founded, in its daily functioning, in its everyday management. With principia naturae and ratio status, principles of nature and raison d'Etat, nature and state, the two great references of the knowledge... and techniques given to modern Western man are finally constituted, or finally separated.
Raison d'Etat is an innovation, therefore, which is immediately perceived as such; it is an innovation and scandal, and just as Galileo's discoveries... provoked the scandal in the field of religious thought that you all know about, so too, in the same way, ratio status caused at least as great a scandal. [...] There was scandal... to the point that Pope Pius V said that the ratio status is not at all raison d'Etat; ratio status is ratio diaboli, the devil's reason. [...] ...in 1637 he [reverend rather Claude Clement] writes a book entitled, Machiavellianism's throat cut (Le Machiavelisme egorge), Machiavellismus jugulatus, in which he says, at the start: "Reflecting on the sect of the Politques, I do not know... by what name I should call it. Shall I designate it as a Polytheism? Yes, no doubt, because the Politque respects everything and anything only through political reason. Shall I call it Atheism? [...] Shall I name it... Statolatry? This would be the fairest name. If in his general indifference the Politique respects something, it is in order to give men over to I know not what divinity, God, or Goddess that the ancient Greeks invoked with the name of City, the Romans with the name of Republic or Empire, and people today with the name of State. This is the only divinity of the Politique, this is the most just name by which to designate them."
And then, even more radically, there is another argument that consists in saying: Where in fact will we end up when we do without God and the fundamental principle of God's sovereignty over the world, nature, and men in order to seek out a specific form of government? We will end up with the Prince's whims... and then also with the impossibility of justifying any form of higher obligation. If you remove God from the system and tell people that one must obey, and that one must obey a government, then in the name of what must one obey? No more God, no more laws. No more God, no more obligations. And there is someone who said: "If God does not exist, everything is permitted." This is not who you think it is [Dostoyvsky]. It is the reverend father Contzen in the Politicorum libri decem, the Book of les Politiques, of 1620.
As for the supporters of raison d'Etat, some will say: In actual fact, we have nothing to do with Machiavelli. Machiavelli does not give us what we are looking for. Machiavelli is actually no more than a Machiavellian, someone who calculates solely in terms of the Prince's interests, and we deny this and him. So you can see that the objection to Machiavelli comes from two sides. It comes from those who criticize raison d'Etat by saying that in the end it is nothing but Machiavelli; and it comes from the supporters of raison d'Etat who say: What we are actually after has nothing to do with Machiavelli; he can be thrown to the dogs.
You have seen that in these diatribes against raison d'Etat we [find] the word "politques." You will have noticed, [first of all], that the word is always used negatively... . The politiques are a sect, something that smells of or verges on heresy. The word "politiques" appears then to designate people who share a particular way of thinking, a way of analyzing, reasoning, calculating, and conceiving of what a government must do and on what form of rationality it can rest. In other words, it was not politics (la politique) as a domain, set of objectives, or even as a profession or vocation that first appeared in the sixteenth and seventeenth century West, but the politiques, or... a particular way of positing... the spcificity of government in relation to the exercise of sovereignty. As opposed to the juridical-theological problem of the foundation of sovereignty, the politiques are those who try to think the form of government rationality for itself. And [it is] just in the middle of the seventeenth century [editors note: note the homology with the chronology which Madness and Civilization fixes for the 'Age of Reason' or 'Classical age' or of the 'Great Confinement'] that you see the apperance of politics (la politique), or politics understood... as a domain or type of action. [...] Politics ceases being a... particular way of reasoning peculiar to some individuals. It really has become a domain, and one that is... fully integrated at the level of institutions, practices, and ways of doing things within the system of sovereignty of the French aboslute monarchy. It is precisely Louis XIV who introduces the specificity of raison d'Etat into the general forms of sovereignty [ and who, recall, in 1656 Founded, by decree, the Hopital General in Paris. See 'The Great Confinement' in Madness and Civilization.]. [...] Louis XIV really is in fact raison d'Etat, and when he says "The State is me," it is precisely this stitching together of sovereignty and government that is being put forward. ...when Boussuet says "politics drawn from Holy Scripture," politics thus becomes something that has lost its negative connotations. It has become a domain, a set of objects, a type of organization of power. Finally, it is drawn from Holy Scripture, which means that reconciliation with the religoius pastoral... has been established. And if we add that in Bossuet this politics drawn from Holy Scripture leads to the justification of Gallicanism [which is opposed to the sovereignty which extends 'over the alps' ( ultramontane) from Rome to cover all of Europe], that is to say, that raison d'Etat can be used against the Church, we can see what reversals have been carried out between... the time when anathemas were thrown at the politiques, [and when] the bishop of Tours drawing from Holy Scripture the right of Louis XIV to have a politics governed by raison d'Etat that is consequently specific, different from, and indeed opposed to that of the absolute monarchy of the Church. The Empire is indeed dead.
Obviously, it would be absurd to say that the set of institutions we call the state date from this period of 1580 to 1650. It would be meaningless to say that the state was born then. After all, big armies had already emerged and been organized in France with Francis I. Taxation was established before this, and justice even earlier. So, all these apparatuses existed. But what is important, what we should hold on to, and what is at any rate a real, specific, and incompressible historical phenomenon is the moment this something, the state, really began to enter into reflected practice. The problem is knowing when, under what conditions, and in what form the state began to be projected, programmed, and developed within this conscious practice, at what moment it became an object of knowledge (connaissance) and analysis, when and how it became part of a reflected and concerted strategy, and at what point it began to be called for, desired, coveted, feared, rejected, loved, and hated. In short, it is the entrance of the state into the field of practice and thought that we should try to grasp.
What I would like to show you, and will try to show you, is how the emergence of the state as a fundamental political issue can in fact be situated within a more general history of governmentality, or, if you like, in the field of practices of power. I am well aware that there are those who say that in talking about power all we do is develop an internal and circular ontology of power, but I say: Is it not precisely those who talk of the state, of its history, development, and claims, who elaborate on an entity through history and who develop the ontology of this thing that would be the state? What if the state were nothing more than a way of governing? What if the state were nothing more than a type of governmentality? What if all these relations of power that gradually take shape on the basis of multiple and very diverse processes which gradually coagulate and form an effect, what if these practices of government were precisely the basis on which the state was constituted? Then we would have to say that the state is not that kind of cold monster in history that has continually grown and developed as a sort of threatening organism above civil society. What we would have to show would be how, from the sixteenth century, a civil society, or rather, quite simply a governmentalized society organized something both fragile and obsessive that is called the state. But the state is only an episode in government, and it is not government that is an instrument of the state. Or at any rate, the state is an episode in governmentality.
15 March 1978
Today I would like to talk very quickly about what is understood by raison d’État at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century... . [...] What is understood by raison d'Etat?
Nothing of the cosmos, nature, or the divine is present in the definition of raison d'Etat. [...] It is... an art, with its practical aspect and its aspect of knowledge. ...raison d'Etat is essentially... conservative,... protective. In raison d'Etat... what is involved is essentially identifying what is necessary and sufficient for the state to exist and maintain itself in its integrity. [...] You recall the way in which Saint Thomas spoke of the nature of the republic and of royal government. ...its final objective was to ensure that on leaving their terrestrial status, and freed from this human republic, men can arrive at eternal bliss and the enjoyment of God. [...] There is nothing of this here. The end of raison d'Etat is the state itself, and if there is something like perfection, happiness, or felicity, it will only ever be the perfection, happiness, or felicity of the state itself.
The art of government and raison d'Etat no longer pose a problem of origin: we are always already in a world of government, raison d'Etat, and the state.
...there is nothing like the dream of the last Empire that dominated medieval religious and historical perspectives. [...] The Empire, the last Empire, the universal Empire, whether of the Caesars or of the Church, was something that haunted the medieval perspective, and to that extent there was no indefinite government. [...] Instead, we now find ourselves in a perspective in which historical time is indefinite, in a perspective of indefinite governmentality with no foreseeable term or final aim. We are in open historicity due to the indefinite character of the political art.
...the idea of perpetual peace, which already existed in the Middle Ages, but always as an aspect of the final Empire or of the Empire of the Church, replaces, I think, the idea of the final Empire... . [...] This idea of an indefinite governmentality will subsequently be corrected by the idea of progress, that is, by the idea of progress in man's happiness.
The coup d’État is a very important notion at the start of the seventeenth century, and entire treatises were devoted to [it]. For example, in 1639 Naudé writes Considérations sur les coups d’État. [...] ...at the beginning of the seventeenth century the term “coup d’État” did not in any way signify someone’s seizure of the state at the cost of those who had previously held it and are then dispossessed. The coup d’État is something else entirely. What is the coup d’État in political thought at the start of the seventeenth century? In the first place it is a suspension of, a temporary departure from, laws and legality. The coup d’État goes beyond ordinary law. [...] Is the coup d’État foreign to raison d’État in this? Is it an exception with regard to raison d’État? Absolutely not, because, and I think this is an essential point to note, raison d’État and a system of legality or legitimacy are not in any way homogeneous. [...] ...raison d’État must command, not by “sticking to the laws,” but, if necessary, it must command “the laws themselves, which must adapt to the present state of the republic.”§ So, the coup d’État does not break with raison d’État. It is an element, an event, a way of doing things that, as something that breaches the laws, or at any rate does not submit to the laws, falls entirely within the general horizon, the general form of raison d’État.
...the law of this reason peculiar to the state, and which is called raison d'Etat, is that the state's salvation must prevail over any other law. This fundamental law of necessity, which at bottom is not a law, thus goes beyond all natural law, positive law, and even the law of God's commandments... . [...] So, we do not have government connected with legality, but raison d'Etat connected with necessity.
The usual, habitual exercise of raison d'Etat is not violent precisely because it readily avails itself of laws as its framework and form. But when necessity demands it, raison d'Etat becomes coup d'Etat, and then it is violence. This means that it is obliged to sacrifice, to sever, cause harm, and it is led to be unjust and murderous. As you know, this principle is completely at variance with the pastoral theme that the salvation of each is the salvation of all, and the salvation of all is the salvation of each. We now have a raison d'Etat,... the sacrifice of some for the whole, of some for the state. In a phrase taken up by Naude, Charron said: "To retain justice in big things it is sometimes necessary to turn away from it is small things."
...a part of Shakespeare's historical drama really is the drama of the coup d'Etat. Corneille, even Racine, are only ever representations... well, I exaggerate saying that, but quite often, almost always, they are representations of coups d'Etat. Andromaque and Athalie are coups d'Etat. Even Berenice is a coup d'Etat. I think Classical drama is basically organized around the coup d'Etat.
In a few words, at a time when the quasi-imperial unity of the cosmos is breaking up, when nature is being... freed... from the tragic, I think something like the reverse of this is taking place in the political order. [...] State, raison d'Etat, necessity, and risky coups d'Etat will form the new tragic horizon of politics and history.
Here I will take a completely different question and a completely different text. The question is that of revolts and sedition... and for which there is a quite remarkable text written by the Lord Chancellor Francis Bacon... .
Bacon writes an essay entitled "Of Seditions and Troubles." In this essay he gives a complete description... of sedition and the precautions to be taken against it, and of government of the people. First, sedition should not be seen as extraordinary so much as an entirely normal, natural phenomenon, immanent as it were to the life of the res publica, of the republic. Seditions, he says, are like tempests, they arise precisely when they are least expected, in the greatest calm, in periods of stability or equinox. In moments of... calm, something may very well be brewing, or rather being born, or swelling like a tempest. The sea secretly swells, he says, and it is precisely this way of signalling, this semiotics of revolt that must be worked out. How can we locate the possible formation of sedition in a period of calm? Bacon, and here I am going very quickly, gives some signs. First, rumors, that is to say the circulation of libels, pamphlets, and discourses against the state and those who govern.
So much for the signs that come from below and seem to prove that a tempest is brewing... . Then there are signs that come from above, and it is also necessary to pay attention to these. The first is when the great and the powerful, those around the sovereign, those who are his officers or close to him, clearly show that they are not obeying the sovereign's orders... .
So, seditions have signs. [...] The material of seditions is in the first place poverty, or at least excessive poverty, that is to say, a level of poverty that ceases to be bearable. And, Bacon says, "rebellions arising from the belly are the worst of all." The second material of sedition apart from the belly, is the head, that is to say, discontent. This is a phenomenon of opinion, of perception, and Bacon stresses that this is not necessarily correlative with the first, that is to say, with the condition of the belly. [...] Hunger and opinion, belly and head, are the two materials of sedition. They are, Bacon says, like two inflammable materials, that is to say, these two conditions, the belly and opinion, are absolutely indispensable for sedition.
So, sedition has causes. It also has remedies. [...] ...the removal of want and poverty, Bacon says, involves the repression of luxury and the prevention of idleness, vagrancy, and begging. [...] So all this must be done to prevent, to extinguish the material cause of revolt constituted by poverty.
Bacon says that there are basically two categories of individuals within the state. There are the common people and the nobility. Now, in fact, there is only real and really dangerous sedition when the common people and the nobility unite. [...] One must see to it, first of all, that the people's discontent never arrives at a point where its only outlet is explosion in revolt and sedition. Second, one must ensure that the people... never finds a leader in the nobility.
I think if we compare this text with Machiavelli's, which in some respects it resembles, a difference between them soon becomes apparent. [...] What was the problem posed by Machiavelli? Basically it was the problem of the Prince in danger of being dispossessed. [...] Here, rather, the problem of the dispossession of the king, the possibility that he may be driven out and lose his kingdom, is never invoked. What is evoked instead is a sort of constantly present possibility within the state that in some way belongs to the daily life of states, or at any rate belongs to the intrinsic virtualities of the state. This virtuality is sedition and riot. The possibility of sedition and riot is something [which] one must govern. And one aspect of government will precisely be taking responsibility for this possibility of riot and sedition.
It is also a Machiavellian idea that one should take good care that the discontent of the nobility and the discontent of the people never go hand in hand and reinforce each other. But for Machiavelli the essential danger came from the nobles, from the Prince's enemies anyway, from those who schemed and plotted. [...] You can see that the nobles are not the problem for Bacon. The problem is the common people. [...] When, as with Machiavelli, it was a matter of maintaining a principality, one could think of the nobles and rivals. Now that it is a matter of governing according to raison d'Etat, one must think about the people and have them constantly in mind. The problem for government is not the Prince's rivals but the people... . Governing will basically be governing the people.
Implicit in this, barely sketched out in Bacon, is in actual fact the political practice of the time, since it is from this period that we see the development of, on the one hand, a politics of economic calculation with mercantilism,... and the first great campaigns of opinion that are a feature of Richelieu's government in France. Richelieu invented the political campaign by means of lampoons and pamphlets, and he invented those professional manipulators of opinion who were called at the time "publicistes." [Editors note: predating Edward Bernays 'Public Relations' by 300 years. Translators note: See E. Thuau, Raison d'Etat et Pensee politique, pp. 169-178, on the "government of minds" according to Richelieu and the employment of the principle "to govern is to create belief (faire croire)."] Birth of the economistes, birth of the publicistes. Economy and opinion are the two major aspects of the field of reality, the two correlative elements of the field of reality that is emerging as the correlate of government.
...in no way have I wanted to undertake the genealogy of the state itself or the history of the state. I have simply wanted to show some sides or edges of what we could call the practico-reflexive prism, or just simply the reflexive prism, in which the problem of the state appeared in the sixteenth century... . It is a bit as if I were to say to you: My aim has not been to give you the history of the planet Earth in terms of astrophysics, but to give you the history of the reflexive prism that, at a certain moment, allowed one to think that the Earth was a planet. It is the same kind of thing. [...] However, the appearance of the state on the horizon of a reflected practice at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century has been of absolutely capital importance in the history of the state and in the way in which the institutions of the state actually crystallized.
When one speaks of the public on whose opinion one must act in such a way as to modify its behaviour, one is already very close to the population. But I think population as a really reflected element, the notion of population, is not present and is not operative in this first analysis of raison d'Etat. For example, when Chemnitz defines raison d'Etat, he says "felicity of the state" and never "felicity of the population." [...] This is in fact one of the fundamental features of mercantilist politics at this time. The problem is the wealth of the state and not that of the population. Raison d'Etat is a relationship of the state to itself, a self-manifestation in which the element of population is hinted at but not present, sketched out by not reflected. Similarly, when, with Bacon, one speaks of seditions, of poverty and discontent, we are very close to population, but Bacon never envisages the population as constituted by economic subjects who are capable of autonomous behaviour. One will speak of wealth, the circulation of wealth, and the balance of trade, but one will not speak of population as an economic subject. [...] In other words, I think raison d'Etat really did define an art of government in which there was an implicit reference to the population, but precisely population had not yet entered into the reflexive prism. From the beginning of the seventeenth to the middle of the eighteenth century there is a series of transformations thanks to which and through which this notion of population, which will be a kind of central element in all... political reflection, and political science from the eighteenth century, is elaborated. It is elaborated through an apparatus (appareil) that was installed in order to make raison d'Etat function. This apparatus is police.
Cont. p. 272
22 March 1978
I have tried to show you something of how what could be called the breakthrough of a "governmental reason" took place in Europe. [...] I tried to show you that an absolutely specific art of government came into being, with its own reason, its own rationality, its own ratio. This is an event in the history of Western reason, of Western rationality, which is undoubtedly no less important than the event associated with Kepler, Galileo, [Bacon,] Descartes, and so on at exactly the same time, that is to say, at the end of the sixteenth and in the course of the seventeenth century. [...] This is what was called politics at the time, and it should never be forgotten that this was initially seen and recognized, and immediately disturbed its contemporaries, as something heterodox: a different way of thinking; a different way of thinking power, the kingdom, the fact of ruling and governing; a different way of thinking the relations between the kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of Earth. This heterodoxy was identified and called politics... .
I have also tried to show you that this governmental ratio, this governmental reason delineated the state as both its principle and its objective, as both its foundation and its aim. The state would be, if you like, I am not too sure what to say... the regulatory idea of governmental reason.
In a word: Raison d'Etat is what allows the state to be maintained in good order (en etat). Moreover, Palazzo... played on the word status, which means both "state," in the sense of the state (l'Etat), and at the same time the thing's immobility.
Botero, the first in Italy to produce the theory of raison d'Etat, says that it is "a perfect knowledge of the means by which states are formed, preserved, strengthened, and expanded."
What basically is to be avoided, and it is in and for this that raison d'Etat functions according to Botero and Palazzo, is the cycle of birth, growth, perfection, and then decadence that was ungergone by the kingdom of Babylon, the Roman Empire, and Charlemagne's Empire. In the terminology of the time this cycle was called "revolutions." Revolution, revolutions, is that kind of quasi-natural, half natural and half historical phenomenon that forces states into a cycle that, after taking them up to the light and plenitude, causes them to disappear and die. This is revolution. And what Botero and Palazzo basically understand by raison d'Etat is essentially preserving states against these revolutions.
I reminded you last week that with raison d'Etat we exist within a world of indefinite historicity, in an open time without end.
What is this historical reality on which the idea of a temporally open history and, I was going to say, a multiple state space is articulated? It is, of course, the final disappearance in the course of the sixteenth century of the old forms of universality offered to and imposed on Europe throughout the Middle Ages practically since the Roman Empire and as its heritage. This disappearance took place in an absolutely noticeable, tangible, and definitive way that was recognized at the time, and what's more was institutionalized in the seventeenth century in the famous treaty of Westphalia... . [...] At the same time, the treaty of Westphalia established the division of the Church arising from the Reformation as an accepted, institutionalized, and recognized fact... . [...] In other words, Empire and Church, the two great forms of universality that, in the case of the Empire at least, for a number years, for decades and maybe centuries, had no doubt become a sort of empty envelope, an empty shell, but which still retained their power of focalization, attraction, and intelligibility, these two great forms of universality had lost their vocation and meaning... . This is the reality on which the principle that we exist with a open and multiple state space is articulated. We are now dealing with absolute unites... [which] seek to assert themselves, in a space of increased, extended, and intensified economic exchange. They seek to assert themselves in a space of commercial competition and domination, in a space of monetary circulation, colonial conquest, and control of the seas, and all this gives each state's self-assertion not just the form of each being its own end that I spoke about last week, but also this new form of competition.
I think we can say that the appearance, or development rather, of a raison d'Etat that can only preserve the state by increasing its forces in a space of competition, assumes immediate and concrete shape in the problem, broadly speaking, of Spain, or of Spain and Germany. It is true that raison d'Etat is born in Italy; it was formulated in Italy on the basis of specific problems of the relations between small Italian states [editors note: developed on the Greek model of the city-state]. But if it developed and really became an absolutely fundamental category of thought for all the European states,... it is because of these phenomena I have been talking about, which are materialized in the shape of Spain [which found 'itself heir to the claim of universal monarchy', 'in possession of a more or less worldwide quasi-monopolistic colonial and maritime empire', and provided, in the 16th century, the rest of Europe with a spectacular example through its dramatic impoverishment].
Spain was the... classical example around which the analysis of raison d'Etat developed. And we can see why all these analyses of raison d'Etat, and of this new, emerging field of politics are especially developed in the enemies and rivals of Spain: in France, in Germany, which was trying to get free from the yoke of imperial preeminence, and in Tudor England.
This transition... to the competition of states is undoubtedly one of the most fundamental mutations in both of the form of Western political life and the form of Western history.
We enter a politics whose principle object will be the employment and calculation of forces. Politics, political science, encounters the problem of dynamics.
...all these phenomena... lead to the apperance in political thought of the fundamental category of force. [...] Now you are well aware that at the same time, and by completely different processes, the sciences of nature, and physics in particular, will also encounter this notion of force [editors note: see Spengler's Decline of the West on 'force' as a prime concept of 'Faustian' culture]. So the dynamics of politics and the dynamics of physics are more or less contemporaneous. And we should see how all of this is connected through Leibniz, 14 who is the general theorist of force as much from the historical-political point of view as from the point of view of physical science.
If states exist alongside each other in a competitive relationship, a system must be found that will limit the mobility, ambition, growth, and reinforcement of all the other states as much as possible, but nonetheless leaving each state enough openings for it to maximize its growth without provoking its adversaries and without, therefore, leading to its own disappearance or enfeeblement. This system of security was outlined... at the end of the Thirty Years War , at the end of the one hundred years of religious and political struggles that led to the clear and definitive disappearance of both the imperial dream and ecclesiastical universalism, and which ranged a number of states against each other, all of which could lay claim to their self-assertion and the self-purpose of their own policy. [...] The objective was the balance of Europe. Here again, just like raison d'Etat, the balance of Europe is of Italian origin; the idea of a balance is of Italian origin. I think it is in Guicciardini that we find the analysis of this policy by which each of the Italian princes tried to maintain a state of equilibrium in Italy.
At the start, or in the first half of the seventeenth century, the idea of Europe is absolutely new. What is Europe? First, it is precisely a unit that no longer has the universal vocation of Christianity, for example. Christianity, by definition, by vocation, aimed to cover the entire world. Europe, on the other hand, is a geographical division that at the time did not include Russia, for example, and only included England in a somewhat ambiguous way, since England was not actually party to the treaty of Westphalia.
...the balance of Europe primarily meant the impossibility of the strongest state laying down the law to any other state. [...] Second, European balance... was thought of as the constitution of a limited number of the strongest states [England, Austria, France and Spain], between which equality will be maintained so that each of them will be able to prevent any other from taking the lead and getting the upper hand.
...instead of a sort of absolute eschatology that posits an empire, a universal monarchy as the culminating point of history, we have what could be called a relative eschatology, a precarious and fragile eschatology, but towards which it really is necessary to strive, and this fragile eschatology is, in short, peace [the peace was spoken of in terms of the 'peace of Christendom']. [...] Peace will no longer come from unity, but from non-unity, from plurality maintained as plurality. You can see the extent to which we are now situated within a historical perspective. [...] This is a major change. The objective will now be to ensure the security in which each state can effectively increase its forces without bringing about the ruin of other states or of itself.
...henceforth... it will be necessary to wage war, precisely in order to preserve this balance.
...on the bronze of the French king's canons was written: Ultima ratio regum, "the last, the final reason of kings." So, this is the first instrument for getting the system of European security, of European balance, to work.
The second instrument [is] the diplomatic instrument. [...] ...we see the creation of what are not yet called permanent diplomatic missions... . The institution of permanent ambassadors... has a long genesis..., and was set up at the end of the fifteenth and the start of the sixteenth century, but the conscious, reflected, and absolutely permanent organization of a diplomacy of constant negotiation dates from this period.
The third instrument of this military-diplomatic system for maintaining European balance... will be the constitution of another fundamental and new element, which is the deployment of a permanent military apparatus (dispositif).
We have then a political-military complex that is absolutely necessary to the constitution of this European balance as a mechanism of security... .
[Editors note: in a book he wrote recently (2014) titled World Order: Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History, Henry Kissinger wrote:
"In our time, the Peace of Westphalia has acquired a special resonance as the path breaker of a new concept of international order that has spread around the world."
"...the structure established in the Peace of Westphalia represented the first attempt to institutionalize an international order on the basis of agreed rules and limits and to base it on a multiplicity of powers rather than the dominance of a single country. The concepts of raison d'etat and the "national interest" made their first appearance, representing not an exaltation of power but an attempt to rationalize and limit its use. [...] Limited wars over calculable issues would replace the era of contending universalims, with its forced expulsions and conversions and general war... . [i.e., the 100 years of religious war]"
"With the Treaty of Westphalia, the papacy had been confined to ecclesiastical functions, and the doctrine of sovereign equality reigned [sometimes called 'Westphalian Sovereignty']. What political theory could then explain the origin and justify the functions of secular political order? In his Leviathan, published in 1651, three years after the Peace of Westphalia, Thomas Hobbes provided such a theory. He imagined a "state of nature" in the past when the absence of authority produced a "war of all against all." To escape such intolerable insecurity, he theorized, people delivered their rights to a sovereign power in return for the sovereign's provision of security for all within the state's borders. The sovereign state's monopoly on power was established as the only way to overcome the perpetual fear of violent death and war. [editors note: see Foucault on Hobbs nightmare of a 'state of nature' in his Discipline and Punish]"
He quotes from Hobbes text:
"...the law of nations and the law of nature is the same thing. And every sovereign hath the same right, in procuring the safety of his people, that any particular man can have, in procuring the safety of his own body."
Note: see also Machiavellism: The Doctrine of Raison D'État and Its Place in Modern History By Friedrich Meinecke (1957). Meinecke's text was known to both Kissinger and Foucault]
29 March 1978
Henceforth the art of government will... consist in... manipulating, maintaining, distributing, and re-establishing relations of force within a space of competition that entails competitive growths. In other words, the art of government is deployed in a field of relations of forces. I think this is the great threshold of modernity of this art of government.
The second great technological assemblage ["typical of the new art of government in a competitive field of forces", the first consisting of "permanent and multilateral diplomacy" and "the organization of a professional army"], which I want to talk about today, is what at the time was called “police,” which it must be understood has very little, no more than one or two elements, in common with what we should call police from the end of the eighteenth century. In other words, from the seventeenth to the end of the eighteenth century, the word “police” had a completely different meaning from the one it has today [note: See the definition Foucault gives in 1976 in The Politics of Health in the Eighteenth Century, p. 94: “Down to the end of the ancien régime, the term "police" does not signify (at least not exclusively) the institution of police in the modern sense; "police" is the ensemble of mechanisms serving to ensure order, the properly channeled growth of wealth, and the conditions of preservation of health "in general.” (A brief description of Delamare’s Treatise follows). Foucault’s interest in Delamare goes back to the sixties. See Histoire de la folie, pp. 89-90; Madness and Civilization, p. 63].
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the word “police” is already frequently used to designate a number of things. In the first place, one calls “police,” quite simply, a form of community or association governed by a public authority; a sort of human society when something like political power or public authority is exercised over it. [...] Second, still in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, one also calls "police" precisely the set of actions that direct these communities under public authority. Thus you find the almost traditional expression "police and regiment," "regiment" used in the sense of a way of directing, of governing, and which is associated with "police."
From the seventeenth century "police" begins to refer to the set of means by which the state's forces can be increased while preserving the state in good order ["Everything that serves to preserve the good order of society is a matter for police." Instructions of Catherine II, 1767.].
Cont. p. 313
5 April 1978When we look at the different objects... defined as relevant to the practice, intervention, and also reflection of police, and on police, the first thing we can note is that they are all essentially what could be called urban objects. They are urban in the sense that some only exist in the town and because there is a town.
The second thing we should note is that the problem with which police is concerned are also problems of the market, of buying and selling, of exchange... . [...] In short, it concerns the whole problem of the exchange, circulation, manufacture, and marketing of goods. [...] Let's say, in short, that police is essentially urban and market based... .
The town and the road, the market, and the road network feeding the market. Hence the fact that in the seventeenth and eighteenth century police was thought essentially in terms of what could be called the urbanization of the territory. Basically, this involved making the kingdom, the entire territory, into a sort of big town; arranging things so that the territory is organized like a town, on the model of a town, and as perfectly as a town. [...] Domat said that "it is by police that we create towns and places where men assemble and communicate with each other through the use of roads, public squares and (...) highways." In Domat's mind, the link between police and town is so strong that he says it is only because there was police, that is to say, because we have regulated the way in which men, first, could and had to come together, and then, second, communicate with each other... it is because there was a police regulating this cohabitation, circulation, and exchange that towns were able to exist. Police, then, as a condition of [the possibility] of urbane existence. Freminville [in a general dictionary of police at the end of the eighteenth century] says that the rigorous police exercised in Paris made it such a perfect and marvellous model that Louis XIV "wanted all the judges of all the towns of his realm to create police along the lines of Paris." There are towns because there is police, and it is because there are towns so perfectly policed that there was the idea of transferring police to the general scale of the kingdom. "To police," "to urbanize":... to police and to urbanize is the same thing.
...you can also see that police, the establishment of police, is absolutely inseparable from a governmental theory and practice that is generally labeled mercantilism, that is to say, a technique and calculation for strengthening the power of competing European states through the development of commerce and the new vigor given to commercial relations. Mercantilism is fully part of this context of European balance and intra-European competition I spoke about some weeks ago, and it identifies commerce as the essential instrument and fundamental weapon in this intra-European competition that must take place in the form of equilibrium. [...] When raison d'Etat takes European equilibrium as its objective, with a military-diplomatic armature for its instrument, and when this same raison d'Etat takes the singular growth of each state power as its other objective with, at the same time, commerce as the instrument of this growth, you can see how and why police is inseparable from a politics of commercial competition within Europe.
Police and commerce, police and urban development, and police and the development of all the activities of the market in the broad sense, constitute an essential unity in the seventeenth century and until the beginning of the eighteenth century.
If the governmentality of the state is interested, for the first time, in the fine materiality of human existence and coexistence, of exchange and circulation, if this being and well-being is taken into account for the first time by the governmentality of the state, through the town and through problems like health, roads, markets, grains, and highways, it is because at that time commerce is thought of as the main instrument of the state's power and thus as the privileged object of a police whose objective is the growth of the state's forces.
...in the middle of the eighteenth century, in the Instructions of Catherine II inspired by the French philosophers, and concerning her establishment of a code of police, she says: "Police regulations are of a completely different kind than other civil laws. The things of police are things of each moment, whereas the things of the law are definitive and permanent." [And] "Police has more need of regulations than laws." We are in a world of indefinite regulation, of permanent, continually renewed, and increasingly detailed regulation, but always regulation, always in that kind of form that, if not judicial, is nevertheless juridical: the form of the law, or at least as it functions in a mobile, permanent, and detailed way in the regulation. [...] That police is an essentially regulatory world is so true that in the middle of the eighteenth century Guillaute, a theorist of police, wrote that police had to be essentially regulatory, but even so one had to avoid the kingdom becoming a convent. We are in a world of the regulation, the world of discipline. And, in fact, the big practical treatises on police were collections of regulations. That is to say, the great proliferation of local and regional disciplines we have observed in workshops, schools and the army from the end of the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, should be seen against the background of an attempt at a general disciplinarization, a general regulation of individuals and the territory of the realm in the form of the police based on an essentially urban model. Making the town into a sort of quasi-convent and the realm into a sort of quasi-town is the kind of great disciplinary dream behind police.
Now you can see what is called into question by... the economistes. It is... regulation, the main means of the police system, which, as I was just saying, [in the form] of a generalized discipline, was the essential form in which one conceived of the possibility and necessity of police intervention. The postulate of police regulation was, of course, that things were indefinitely flexible and that the sovereign's will, or the rationality immanent to the ratio, to raison d'Etat, could obtain what it wanted from them. It is precisely this that the economistes' analysis calls into question. Things are not flexible for two reasons. The first is that not only is there a certain course of things that cannot be modified, but precisely by trying to modify it one makes things worse. This is why, the economistes explain, grain is dear when it is scarce. What will happen if one seeks to prevent the dearness of scarce grain by regulations that fix its price? Well, people will not want to sell their grain, and the more one tries to lower the price, the worse the scarcity will become, and prices will tend to rise, so that not only are things not flexible, but they are as it were recalcitrant and turn back against those who seek to modify them against their natural course. One gets a result that is the exact opposite of the one desired. So, there is a stubbornness of things. Not only will this regulation not go in the direction wished for, it is also quite simply pointless. Police regulation is pointless precisely because... there is a spontaneous regulation of the course of things. [...] So a regulation based upon and in accordance with the course of things themselves must replace a regulation by police authority.
You recall that at the beginning of the seventeenth century there was what was seen at the time as a veritable sect, as a sort of heresy: the politques. The politiques were those who defined a new art of government in terms that were no longer those of the great... cosmo-theology that served as the framework for the arts of government of the Middle Ages, and still of the sixteenth century. The politiques were those who said: ...let's look for the reason intrinsic to the art of government; let's define a horizon that will make it possible to fix exactly what should be the rational principles and forms of calculation specific to an art of government. And they defined a new rationality by thus carving out the domain of the state in the great cosmo-theological world of medieval and Renaissance thought. The heresy of the politiques was a fundamental heresy. Well, almost a century later a new sect appeared, which was also seen as a sect moreover: the economistes. With regard to what were the economistes heretical? They were... heretical... with regard to the thinking organized around raison d'Etat, with regard to the state, and with regard to the police state, and it was they who invented a new art of government, still in terms of reason, of course, but of a reason that was no longer raison d'Etat, or which was not only raison d'Etat, and which was, to put things more precisely, raison d'Etat modified by... this new domain that was emerging: the economy. Economic reason does not replace raison d'Etat, but it gives it a new content and so gives new forms to state rationality. A new governmentality is born with the economistes more than a century after the appearance of that other governmentality in the seventeenth century. The governmentality of the politiques gives us police, and the governmentality of the economistes introduces us, I think, to some of the fundamental lines of modern and contemporary governmentality.
I told you that in the medieval tradition, broadly speaking, or still in the Renaissance, a good government, a well-ordered kingdom, was part of a world order will by God. As a consequence, good government was inscribed in this great cosmological-theological framework. With regard to this natural order, raison d'Etat carves out a new division, or even introduces a radical break, the state, which looms up and reveals a new reality with its own rationality. There is therefore a break with the old naturalness that framed medieval political thought. There is a non-naturalness, an absolute artificiality, if you like, at any rate a break with that old cosmo-theology, which brought the reproaches of atheism that I talked about. So, there is an artificiality of the governmentality of police, of this raison d'Etat.
But now, naturalness re-appears with the economistes, but it is a different naturalness. It is the naturalness of those mechanisms that ensure that, when prices rise, if one allows this to happen, then they will stop rising by themselves. It is the naturalness that ensures that the population is attracted by high wages, until a certain point at which wages stabilize and as a result the population no longer increases. As you can see, this is not at all the same type of naturalness as that of the cosmos that framed and supported the governmental reason of the Middle Ages or of the sixteenth century. [...] ...it is a naturalness that basically did not exist until ['men... cohabit, come together, exchange, work, and produce'] and which, if not named as such, at least begins to be thought of and analysed as the naturalness of society.
It is society as a naturalness specific to man's life in common that the economistes ultimately bring to light as a domain, a field of objects, as a possible domain of analysis, knowledge and intervention. Society as a specific field of naturalness peculiar to men, and which will be called civil society, emerges as the vis-à-vis of the state. What is civil society if not, precisely, something that cannot be thought of as simply the product and result of the state? But neither is it something like man's natural existence. Civil society is what governmental thought, the new form of governmentality born in the eighteenth century, reveals as the necessary correlate of the state. [...] It is not a primitive nature... . The state has responsibility for a society, a civil society, and the state must see to the management of this civil society.
...in this new governmentality, and correlative to this horizon of social naturalness, you see the appearance of the theme of a form of knowledge-- I was going to say, specific to government, but this would not be entirely exact. What are we actually dealing with in these natural phenomena the economistes were talking about? We are dealing with processes that can be known by methods of the same type as any scientific knowledge. [...] ...this scientific knowledge is absolutely indispensable for good government. [...] So, as you can see, a quite particular relationship of power and knowledge, of government and science appears.
[Another] important point in this new governmentality is, of course, the sudden appearance of the problem of population in new forms. [...] ...the population is transformed, grows, declines, and moves around. There is therefore a naturalness intrinsic to population. [...] Population will be characterized by the law of the mechanics of interests [editors note: for example, it becomes common place from the late 18th to the mid 19th century (from Adam Smith Theory of Moral Sentiment, Hegel's lectures on the Philosophy of History, right up to von Hartmann's Philosophy of the Unconscious) to say that the greater good-- commonwealth-- is served by individuals pursuing their own interests.]. In the naturalness of the population and the composition of interests within the population you see the appearance of population as a reality that has a natural density and thickness that is different from the set of subjects who were subject to the sovereign and the intervention of police... . ...if population really is endowed with this naturalness, this 'thickness', with internal mechanisms of regulation, then this will be the reality that the state will have to be responsible for, rather than individuals who must be subjugated and subject to imposed rules and regulations. [...] ...the population as a collection of subjects is replaced by the population as a set of natural phenomena.
The basic principle of the state's role, and so of the form of governmentality henceforth prescribed for it, will be to... take them ['these natural processes'] into account, get them to work, or to work with them. That is to say... intervention of state governmentality will have to be limited, but this limit will not be just a sort of negative boundary [i.e., imposed by the rights of the sovereign subject]. An entire domain of possible and necessary intervention appears within the field thus delimited, but these interventions will not necessarily, or not as a general rule, and very often not at all take the form of rules and regulations. It will be necessary to arouse [i.e., through 'incentives'], to facilitate, and to laisser faire, in other words to manage and no longer to control through rules and regulations. The essential objective of this management will be not so much to prevent things as to ensure that the necessary and natural regulations work, or even to create regulations that enable natural regulations to work.
This explains, finally, the insertion of freedom within governmentality, not only as the right of individuals legitimately opposed to the power, usurpations, and abuses of the sovereign or the government, but as an element that has become indispensable to governmentality itself. Henceforth, a condition of governing well is that freedom, or certain forms of freedom, are really respected. Failing to respect freedom is not only an abuse of rights with regard to the law, it is above all ignorance of how to govern properly. The integration of freedom, and the specific limits to this freedom within the field of governmental practice has now become an imperative.
You can see how that great over-regulatory police I have been talking about breaks up. The regulatory control of the territory and subjects that still characterized seventeenth century police must clearly be called into question, and there will now be a sort of double system. [...] That is to say, the unitary project of police in the classical seventeenth and eighteenth century sense of the term... will now be dismantled, or rather it will be embodied in different institutions or mechanisms. On one side will be the great mechanisms of incentive-regulation: the economy, management of the population, etcetera. Then, with simply negative functions, there will be the institution of police in the modern sense of the term, which will simply be the instrument by which one prevents the occurrence of certain disorders. [...] As a result, the notion of police is entirely overturned, marginalized, and takes on the purely negative meaning familiar to us.
In brief, the new governmentality, which in the seventeenth century thought it could be entirely invested in an exhaustive and unitary project of police, now finds itself in a situation in which it has to refer to the economy as a domain of naturalness: it has to manage populations; it also has to organize a legal system of respect for freedoms; and finally it has to provide itself with an instrument of direct, but negative, intervention, which is the police. Economic practice, population management, a public law constructed on the respect of freedom and freedoms, and a police with a repressive function: you can see that the old police project, as it appeared in correlation with raison d'Eat, is dismantled, or rather broken up into four elements-- economic practice, population management, law and respect for freedoms, police-- which are added to the great diplomatic-military apparatus (dispositif) that has hardly changed since the eighteenth century.
You can see that we can perfectly well construct a genealogy of the modern state and its apparatuses that is not based on, as they say, a circular ontology of the state asserting itself and growing like a huge monster or automatic machine. We can construct the genealogy of the modern state and its different apparatuses on the basis of a history of governmental reason. Society, economy, population, security, and freedom are the elements of the new governmentality whose forms we can still recognize in its contemporary modifications.
I have tried to show how, as a project for conducting men, the pastorship..., which was set up [and] developed with such intensity in the Middle Ages, provoked certain counter-conducts, or rather, I have tried to show how the art, project, and institutions for conducting men, and the counter-conducts that were opposed to this, developed in correlation with each other: there were all those kinds of movements of resistance or of the transformation of pastoral conduct that I listed. Well, I think we could say something similar, in short we could continue the analysis with regard to governmentality in its modern form. And basically I wonder whether we could not establish some, I don't say analogies exactly, but correspondences as it were.
The new historicity of raison d'Etat excluded the Empire of the last days; it excluded the kingdom of eschatology. Against this theme, which was formulated at the end of the sixteenth century and is still with us today, counter-conducts develop that make it a principle to assert the coming of a time when time will end, and to posit the possibility of an eschatology, of a final time, of a suspension or completion of historical and political time when, if you like, the indefinite governmentality of the state will be brought to an end and halted. By what? Well, by the emergence of something that will be society itself. The day when civil society can free itself of the constraints and controls of the state, when the power of the state can finally be reabsorbed into this civil society-- into a civil society that I have tried to show was born within the form and analysis of governmental reason itself-- time, the time if not of history then at least of politics, of the state, will come to an end as a result. This revolutionary eschatology constantly haunted the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The first form of counter-conduct is the affirmation of an eschatology in which civil society will prevail over the state.
Whether one opposes civil society to the state, the population to the state, or the nation to the state, it was in any case these elements that were in fact put to work within this genesis of the state, and of the modern state. It is therefore these elements that will be at issue and serve as the stake for both the state and for what is opposed to it. To that extent, the history of raison d'Etat, the history of the governmental ratio, and the history of the counter-conducts opposed to it, are inseparable from each other.
The religious inheritance of the revolutionary movements of modern Europe is often invoked. ...it is not a filiation, religious ideology-revolutionary ideology. The link is more complex and does not establish a connection between ideologies. [...] In any case, there are phenomena of real filiation: utopian socialism had real roots... .