Governmentality - The Semantics of Governmentality

The Semantics of Governmentality

This term was thought by some commentators to be made by the "…linking of governing ("gouverner") and modes of thought ("mentalité")". In fact, it was not coined by uniting words "gouvernement" and "mentalité", but simply by making gouvernement into gouvernementalité just like musical into musicalité (see "Course Context" in Foucault's "Security" lectures). To fully understand this concept, it is important to realize that in this case, Foucault does not only use the standard, strictly political definition of "governing" or government used today, but he also uses the broader definition of governing or government that was employed until the eighteenth century. That is to say, that in this case, for Foucault, "...'government' also signified problems of self-control, guidance for the family and for children, management of the house hold, directing the soul, etc." In other words, for our purposes, government is "…the conduct of conduct..."

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