The Signature of Power
Sovereignty, Governmentality and Biopolitics
- Mitchell Dean - Copenhagen Business School, Denmark , University of Newcastle, UK
Culture and Power | Political Theory & Thought (General) | Social Theory
- Paul Du Gay, Copenhagen Business School
"Dean’s erudite and relentlessly critical reading of Foucault, Schmitt and Agamben extracts from these authors new insights about the signature of power ... Immensely valuable and a major contribution to social and political thought."
- William Walters, Carleton University
Mitchell Dean revitalized the study of ‘governmentality’ with his bestselling book of the same title. His new book on power is a landmark work.
It combines an extraordinary breadth of perspective with pinpoint accuracy about what power means for us today. For students it provides sharp readings of the main approaches in the field. On this level, it operates as a foundational work in the study of power. It builds on this to reframe the concept of power, offering original and exceptionally fruitful reading. It throws new light onto the importance of biopolitics, sovereignty and governmentality.
Mitchell Dean has established himself as a master of governmentality. This new book will do the same for how we conceptualize and use power.
Mitchell Dean is Professor of Public Governance at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and Professor of Sociology at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
When it comes to 'power', it can often feel as if everyone is talking about it, yet no one appears to have given it any thought. Well, not quite. In this original and timely book, Mitchell Dean provides a characteristically thoughtful and incisive analysis that aims to renovate the concept of power through an understanding of its signature and how it works. Through a thorough and intelligent engagement with the work of Foucault, Schmitt, and Agamben, their lacuna and failings, Dean pieces together a clear and precise account of sovereignty, governmentality, and bio-politics, which has much to commend it.
Dean's erudite and relentlessly critical reading of Foucault, Schmitt and Agamben extracts from these authors new insights about the signature of power... an immensely valuable book and a major contribution to social and political thought.
Mitchell Dean starts us on a much-needed journey to enlarge and correct Foucault's genealogies of power and develop an analytics that can transcend Foucault's entrapment in bipolar analytics. Set out as captivating detective work, The Signature of Power traces the clues and mystery of power to unravel the impasses and openings in Foucault, Schmitt and Agamben and develop a more politically effective 'history of the present'. It is indispensable reading for Foucauldians and non-Foucauldians alike.
In The Signature of Power Mitchell Dean returns once again to the writings of Michel Foucault to provide a detailed forensic examination of the various texts in which a notion of power appears in his work. In a thoughtful and measured discussion Mitchell Dean brings analytical order to Foucault's fragmented formulations on the subject of power relations and drawing on the respective works of Carl Schmitt and Giorgio Agamben in particular he proceeds to generate an account of sovereignty, governmentality, and biopolitics that constitutes a major contribution to the study of power.
The book makes a conceptual contribution to the study of governmentality by analysing how different modalities of power (legal/sovereign, disciplinary, economic) come into play in modern governing. The discussion of Schmitt and Agamben is very enlightening in this respect. In drawing on economic and political theology, the book also makes a methodological contribution to an analytics of power by illustrating the material practices that accompany the operation of sovereignty. Dean’s book is strongly recommended for all those who study power relations across disciplines. It will be a reference point for Foucauldian studies.
The Signature of Power is comprised of a set of interesting readings in contemporary political theory. Its main conclusions about the study of power today demand recognition and attention.
A must-read for any researcher of power as well as for those generally interested in Schmitt, Foucault and Agamben.
A book to recommend to students to get the background on the sociological approach of crime being a social construction related to power and knowledge.
Lucid and erudite.
Prof. Dean is known as the 'master of governmentality' and with this latest book he once again reinforced that argument. His study covers great details about several perspectives on power (Foucault, Agamben, Schmitt) and manages to come up with an original claim of his own. This is an essential reading for academics working in this field and a great challenge for promising students.
Sample Materials & Chapters
Chapter One: Introducing the Signature of Power