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Phanphop Phansuea November 1, 2007 Readings in International Relations I

The state is a practice. The state is not something transcendental, not a cold monster. As Foucault puts it, What if the state is nothing more than a way of governing? 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 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? And, of course, practices do change. Bob Jessop explains it well, putting it thus: In short, to study governmentality in its generic sense is to study the historical constitution of different state forms in and through changing practices of government without assuming that the state has a universal or general essence. How does neoliberal governmentality impact or change the state in the beginning of the 21st century? Discuss.

What is the state? This question might be rather bland than challenging to answer these days, as anyone can put whatever versions of its definitions from whatever available sources; textbooks, dictionaries, websites, et cetera. Nevertheless, the point is that Can the state in its essence be given such exact definitions? Should we really describe the state through those itemized attributes Do they correctly explain the reality? I do not think so. As Foucaults dubiously puts, What if the state is nothing more than a type of governmentality? Put it another way, What if the state is just a set of governmental practices without a universal or general essence? Therefore, my question is, Will it be more effective to unfasten ourselves from those mainstreamdefinition seats for a while and start over to perceive and understand the state in this manner than to categorize it through those fixed characteristics which is excessively unbeneficial? Let see. A state is a political association with effective dominion over a geographic area. It usually includes the set of institutions that claim the authority to make the rules that govern the people of the society in that definite territory, though its status as a state often depends in part on being recognized by a number of other states as having internal and external sovereignty over it. Additionally, the state is the organization that has a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory through various institution and apparatuses; the armed forces, civil service or state bureaucracy, courts, and police. 1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State accessed 27 October 2007

Actually, This conventional kind of complete-sovereign definition of the state put above can be traced back to the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 where the so-called modern state alongside with the idea of (territorial) sovereignty were developed, increased in importance and diffused throughout the rest of the world. As we see, before long, in 1651 Thomas Hobbes systematically emphasized the relations between the state and this full logical, absolute sovereignty again in the Leviathan. And, up till now, the image of the state as the merely highest authority of each society is still framed firmly in the Grand Narrative explanation. In accordance with those rigid features, the classification of the 2 state keeps working; defining the strong state, the weak state , the failed state and so on, despite its lack of significant understanding of what is actually going on nowadays. For that reason, I think it is time to pause this futile discussing about the state defined by its territorial sovereignty and go across to the other perception which considers the state as a type of governmentality a way of governing which is defined by a mass of the population, with its volume, its density, also with the territory that it 3 covers but only in a sense as one of its components and see how it works. From this viewpoint, the Reason of State, which is mainly concentrated in what the state 4 is; what its exigencies are , is something else. Unlike the former, the state is not concerning the means suited to founding, to preserving, and to enlarging its dominion over people 5 and its interest. Rather, prior questions for the state (which is governable now) are How should it govern? How will 6 it rule the population of an occupied territory? Therefore, the government, as the main political apparatus of the state, has its reason to focus on a sort of complex composed of men and their relations, their links, their imbrication with, as Foucault describes, those things that are wealth, resources, means of subsistence, fertility, and so on; those other things that are customs, habits, ways of acting and thinking, and so on; and those still other things that might be accidents and misfortunes, famine, death, and so on. 7 In short, what reckons essentially is this type of complex of men and things; property and territory are merely one of its variables. 8 It means that, to govern rationally, the state in this sense in contrast to sovereignty, has as its purpose not the act of government itself, but the welfare of the population, the improvement of its condition, and the means the government uses to attain these ends are themselves all. 9 Metaphorically, these states practices 10 can be called pastorship the idea of how a shepherd supervises his flock of sheep. Put it briefly, the population now represents more the end of government than the power of the sovereign
2 Albert RAKIPI, The Weak States & The Role of International Institutions, ; available at http://www.ndc.nato.int/download/publications/rakipi.pdf accessed 26 October 2007 3 Michel Foucault, Governmentality, in The Foucault Effects: Studies in Governmentality, eds. Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon, and Peter Miller (The University of Chicago Press, 1991), 221. 4 Michel Foucault, Omnes et Singulatim: Towards a Criticism of Political Reason, The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, delivered at Stanford University, October 10 and 16, 1979, 244. 5 http://www.filosofia.unina.it/ragiondistato/intro-e.html 6 Barry Hindess, Liberalism Whats in a name?, in Global Governmentality: Governing International Spaces, eds. Wendy Larner and William Walters (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), 29. 7 Foucault, Governmentality, in The Foucault Effects: Studies in Governmentality, 208-209. 8 Ibid., 209. 9 Ibid., 217. 10 Foucault, Omnes et Singulatim: Towards a Criticism of Political Reason, The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, 227.

and must be taken into account in all of the observation and specific knowledges of the state 11 as 13 a whole and in detail 12 (sexual behavior, demography, consumption and so on ) in the same 14 manner that the shepherd manages and watches over his flock all and each one of them. In this fashion, the state can be perceived as a practice, a way of governing through the governmental 15 rationality. Essentially, the main rationality which is embossed in this governmental practice since the emergence of the Westphalian system (of states) is the concept of Liberalism, in the extent that it 16 concerns with mundane problems of the government of population , seeing that these agreements [the Peace of Westphalia] effectively transformed the condition of Western part of Europe, assigning inhabitants that had been dependent on overlapping sources of authority to sovereign rulers who were acknowledged as having primary responsibility for the government of populations within their 17 territories establishing the system of states. At this juncture, although the state retains its superordinate position with respect to its own population the highest of all communities, the emerged 18 system of states is itself regarded as highest of all. Therefore, the liberal governmentality 19 concerned not merely with the populations of individual states national level , but also with the 20 21 larger aggregate population which this new system encompasses supra-national level. Indeed, this latter concern is a very important piece for completing this liberal governmentality image. That means, together with the government of the state, we have to perceive the modern political reason by relating it to the regulation of the conduct of the states themselves and the populations of states as well through certain liberal values. Nonetheless, mentioning to liberalism in this sense, I do not regard it in a normative or ideological terms which treats the maintenance of individual liberty as an 22 23 end in itself leans in the direction of maximizing liberty or of maximizing equality even if we 24 can witness many states try to govern the governed through freedom; self-regulation systems , disciplinary and regulatory controls. Rather, de facto, liberalism as a rationality of government holds wider range of methods including those of what we call illiberal. These phenomena become
Foucault, Governmentality, in The Foucault Effects: Studies in Governmentality, 217. Foucault, Omnes et Singulatim: Towards a Criticism of Political Reason, The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, 230. 13 Foucault, Governmentality, in The Foucault Effects: Studies in Governmentality, 216. 14 Ibid. 15 Colin Gordon, Governmental rationality; an introduction, in The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, eds. Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon and Peter Miller (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 1. 16 Hindess, Liberalism Whats in a name?, in Global Governmentality: Governing International Spaces, 23. 17 Ibid., 27. 18 Ibid. 19 Ibid., 24. 20 Ibid., 27. 21 Ibid., 24. 22 Ibid., 28. 23 Wendy Brown, Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2005), 39. 24 Hindess, Liberalism Whats in a name?, in Global Governmentality: Governing International Spaces, 26.
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possible in a reasonable, not hypocritical, way even seem to be so paradoxical due to the fact that liberal governmentality in every level will always have to deal with individuals and areas of conduct which appear not to be governable solely through available techniques of governing through 25 freedom , the promotion of suitable forms of individual liberty. According to John Rawls The Law of People, we see that peoples who are neither liberal nor decent will not and cannot be included into the Society of Peoples since they are judged as inappropriate and not-ready units for liberalism. Or worse, they may well be targets of liberalization by means of military or humanitarian intervention 26 by the society of peoples itself or some of its members Like this, can it be a mark of a lessimportant (territorial) sovereignty? In point of fact, [with] in contemporary Western states [themselves], as Hindess reminds, we might note the governmental use of both liberal and illiberal techniques in the criminal justice system, the policing of immigrant communities, the urban poor and indigenous people...since even the most liberal of states commonly hold in reserve powers for 27 dealing with conditions of war and states of emergency. This implies that the need to make such decisions (on what can sensibly be governed through freedom, what must be governed in other 28 methods) is itself a central feature of liberal political reason liberal governmentality. To this point, we might be able to understand the state, more or less, as a set of rational practices without any universal essence. Yet the more important thing we have to concern is, owing to its lack of spirit, the criteria which it uses to construct the reasons could change ceaselessly. This suggests that practices are also changeable and, for sure, the state itself would change. Again, if we apply this account of the state in studying the global politics lately, we will find the correct answers for many difficulties emerged from the attempt to put todays state in such rigid itemized features. At the early time after the World War II has (been) ended, we know that during the era of world reorganization there are several movements in many parts of the world which seem to be elements of political and economical instability the obstacles to (Western-based) liberal governmentality. Due to such a limitation, it must be replaced by something new. In short, as Hindess puts, the need to address the novel governmental problems brought about by the end of colonial rule and the widespread disruption of established systems of capitulations by war or revolution has led to some 29 striking new developments in post-imperial liberalism neoliberalism. Neoliberalism as a form of governmentality does not pay too much attention to liberalism as a political doctrine, a set of political institutions, or as political practices. Rather, it refers to liberalisms economic variant, recuperating 30 selected pre-Keynesian assumptions about the generation of wealth and its distribution. Neoliberalism, though it is similar to liberalism in the sense that it emerged in both national and supra-national level, its missions in every level have to work through a/an [more] indirect rule which operates through various national and international aid programmes that assist, advise and constrain
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Hindess, Liberalism Whats in a name?, in Global Governmentality: Governing International Spaces, 28. 26 Ibid., 25. 27 Ibid., 28. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid., 33. 30 Brown, Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics, 39.

the conduct of post-colonial states developing states, at the hand of (Washington-based) international financial institutions and the market in order to extend and disseminate market values, 31 and other social norms designed to facilitate competition, free trade, and rational economic action 32 to all sphere of institutions and social action. In neoliberal economic rationality, we will see that not only human being that is configured thoroughly as homo conomicus rational, calculating 33 creatures but also all dimensions of human life are cast in terms of market rationality; 34 considerations of profitability, production of all action as rational entrepreneurial action and so on. Starting from its deepest reach, it equates moral responsibility with rational action; it erases the discrepancy between economic and moral behavior by configuring morality entirely as a matter of 35 rational deliberation about costs, benefits and consequences. Hence, under this novel form of governmentality, thinking and judging are reduced to instrumental calculation which has no meaning 36 outside the market. Throughout the world, we can see that actions of the states and individuals are strictly constrained by both internal and international market through the application of the governmental use of (market-based) disciplinary systems, empowerment, responsibility, self-control, 37 et cetera as instruments of regulation. However, when Wendy Brown puts, neoliberalism does not simply assume that all aspects of social, cultural, and political life can be reduced to such a calculus; 38 rather, it develops institutional practices and rewards for enacting this vision , it implies that, neoliberalism does not conceive of either the market itself or rational economic behavior as purely natural both are constructed, organized and guaranteed by law and political institutions, and 39 requiring political intervention and orchestration. Put another way around, the economy must be directed, buttressed, and protected by law and policy as well as by dissemination of free-market40 based norms on the part of every member and institution of society in the sense that it [the market] is not being controlled by the state; rather, it is the organizing and regulative principle of the 41 state. Consequently, neoliberal governmentality eviscerates its oppositional political, moral, or subjective claims located outside capitalist rationality yet inside liberal democratic society; 42 institutions, venues, and values organized by nonmarket rationalities in democracies from free elections, representative democracy, and individual liberties equally distributed to moderate powersharing or even more substantive political participation. To say, the modest ethical gap between
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Brown, Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics, 41. Ibid., 40. 33 Ibid., 42. 34 Ibid. 35 Ibid., 42. 36 Ibid., 45. 37 Hindess, Liberalism Whats in a name?, in Global Governmentality: Governing International Spaces, 35. 38 Brown, Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics, 40. 39 Ibid., 41 40 Ibid. 41 Ibid. 42 Ibid., 45

economy and polity of liberal democracy has served to insulate citizens against the ghastliness (and 43 sometimes filth) of life exhaustively ordered by the market and measured by market values ; so, neoliberalism, which focuses intensively on what efficacy or profitability constitutionalism promotes 44 or interdicts , closes it by putting and redefining everything under economic calculation mostly underneath the legitimating cloth of liberal democratic discourse increasingly null and void of 45 substance. Under this frame of neoliberal governmentality, let see how the state can be portrayed. As I put above, now the market is certainly the organizing and regulative principle of the state and society in every aspects of them. Thus the state, in this sense, openly responds to needs of the market for instance, through monetary and fiscal policy, immigration policy, and the treatment of criminals, and so on to confirm its ability to sustain and foster the market and to then bind state 46 legitimacy to such success. Put in a few words, now the state is legitimated itself with reference to 47 economic growth which is usually combined with the discourse of development not to an 48 historical mission. So, it (must) think and behave like a market actor or an enterprise across all of its functions, including law. Besides, it attempts to construct its own neoliberal subjects through various policies as well. Hence, without doubt, the entrepreneurial principle of equal inequality for all must be practiced through social policy in this neoliberal governmentalization process too in order to multiple and expand entrepreneurial forms with the body social. Taken altogether, we can see that the health and growth of the economy is the basis of state legitimacy, both because the state is directly responsible for the health of economy and because of the economic rationality to which state practices have been submitted 49 in every aspect. Equally, individual in the state also bears full responsibility for the consequences of his or her action no matter how severe the constraints on this action since right now he/she is a rationally calculating person, not an innocent 50 sheep. In short, what we call citizenship is reduced to success in this entrepreneurship. This means that, under this kind of rationality, the state can lead and control subjects without being 51 responsible for them. Put a little bit further, for governing the (national) population, neoliberal governmentality also reconfigures the territory of citizenship in order to create new economic possibilities, spaces, and political constellations in the way that would increase the states capacity to manipulate global relations and to adjust relations with its society. From all aspects mentioned above, we see that, within this rationality, the concept of territorial sovereignty is trivial and almost meaningless to some state decision makings, especially to
Brown, Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics, 46. Ibid. 45 Ibid., 47. 46 Ibid., 41. 47 Aihwa Ong, Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2006), 77. 48 Brown, Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics, 44. 49 Ibid., 42 50 Ibid., 44 51 Ibid., 43
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those under market-driven logic. Generally speaking, varied techniques of government rely on controlling and regulating populations in relationship to differentiated spaces of governance, with a 52 graduating effect on sovereignty, and on citizenship. Indeed, several current state strategies treat the national territory as a checkered geography instead of a uniform political space. They favor the fragmentation of the national space into various noncontiguous zones, and promote the differential 53 regulation of populations who can be connected to or disconnected from global circuits of capital , which areas and which populations are advantageous or not advantageous in appealing to global 54 markets - State Brand Building. And in many cases, especially in Southeast Asia, states have deliberately fragmented the national territory and the population hither and thither in the interest of economic development by deploying zoning technologies; for example, special economic zones, special autonomous zones, urban development zones, and so on as long as these zones are 55 56 flexible vis--vis markets. Not only this Graduated Sovereignty technique is designed to facilitate the operations of global capital (and used in HUB strategy), but also Graduated Citizenship system, which administers populations in terms of their relevance to global capital and their growth and productivity judging by biopolitical consideration, is also applied to suit corporate requirements and to maximize the returns on doing what is profitable and to marginalize the 57 unprofitable. So, we can notice that while low-skilled workers are disciplined under harsh surveillance, elite workers and members of dominant ethnic groups are privileged and enjoy 58 affirmative action and pastoral care. Right here, I have to underscore the ineffectiveness of the complete and full-logic sovereign explanation of the state again when Aihwa Ong puts, we now find that the nature of state sovereignty must be rethought as a set of coexisting strategies of 59 government within a single national space. In some cases, territorial sovereignty will be stretched to its limit when the national peripheries have to be reconstituted and governed by quasigovernmental-corporate authorities or non-state agencies especially in the cross-border growth 60 61 zones or subregional economic zones produced by corporate networks. In doing so, the state has to reduce a number of of its roles and regulations in governing populations and areas as we can see the Privatization of certain state functions and any other forms of neoliberal reform ubiquitously. However, we have to understand that these withdrawals of the state from certain domains do not 62 amount to a dismantling of government but rather constitutes a neoliberal technique of governing mostly to create spaces for large capital-intensive industries. For example, in Angola, when the state provides zones for industries like oil production and mineral, it let those enterprises run their own

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Ong, Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty, 77. Ibid. 54 Ibid. 55 Ibid., 96. 56 Ibid., 78. 57 Ibid 78-79. 58 Ibid. 79. 59 Ibid., 95. 60 Ibid., 88. 61 Ibid., 90. 62 Brown, Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics, 44.

business full-freely in a socially thin way , and also control and regulate the populations in their spaces. This way, the state does not have to paying attention in securing uniform regulatory authority over all its citizens within these zones any more. These industries produce productions 64 then export them as air cargos bypassing the surrounding town. They also import all of their 65 equipment and materials even the food and water they serve to staff by themselves, and they build their own infrastructure as well. However, an interesting point is, these industry are also have their own (hired) private military forces since they view security as just another function they have to 66 provide themselves within these conflicted African states. This clearly shows that the state can manage its own land and population without sticking itself to the concept of complete territorial sovereignty, as Ferguson finely concludes, the core feature of the sovereignty of weakly governed African states today is not actual or effective control over national territories (and still less a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence). Rather, it is the ability to provide contractual legal 67 authority that can legitimate the extractive work of transnational firms. In our days, neoliberal governmentality still exerts to expand the ramifications of its rationality as intense as ever. Right after the 9-11 crisis, it can be said that classical explanations about state territorial sovereignty or the concept of the state as a highest authority over its definite area are being buried deeper and deeper. This kind of rationality is now equipped with and under several universal values; for instance, Human Rights, Responsibility to Protect, and so on undoubtedly go along together with free-market values which I described. Thus the state in this century is meaningless its governmental practice over populations, lands, and anything outside market-values, and if it cannot or try not to conduct itself in the way that neoliberal rationality requires, it will be condemned, left behind as a dull sheep, debased, corrected, intervened, or even destroyed. The stateness leaning towards other rationalities is a rubbish, while the one pushing away neoliberal rationality is a threat. Indeed, under this war on terror, if we look at how the US biopolitically performs this newly equipped (with whatever principle of those constructed cosmopolitan values) neoliberal rationality to judge what is appropriate, what needs to be regulated, where is the interests, and so on, in the manner tied tightly to the market decision-making, therefore, as I said at the very first of this article, the state is nothing more than a practice or a way of governing which, within this century, binds fast to the neoliberal rationality without its own essence. And if somebody still wants to think about sovereignty in a sense that it is some kind of authority over others in a defined area, I think he/she would better mull over the sovereignty which is growing up like the wind in front of our eyes, the unique sovereignty that somehow can really judges, separates, and decides what is what on this bed, under this blanket of global neoliberal governmentality in the most powerful manner, the imperial sovereignty.
James Ferguson, Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2006), 198. 64 Ferguson, Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order, 198. 65 Ibid., 199. 66 Ibid., 205. 67 Ibid., 207.
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