Culture, government, and spatiality: re-assessing the 'Foucault effect' in cultural-policy studies.
International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2(3) pp. 369–397.
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This article critically discusses the reconceptualization of culture and governmentality in recent Australian ‘cultural–policy studies’. It argues that the further development of this conceptualization requires a more careful consideration of the complex relations between culture, power and the different spatialities of social practices. The assumptions of this literature regarding social-democratic public institutions and the nation-state are critically addressed in the light of contemporary processes of globalization. It is argued that the use made of Foucault in this paradigm privileges a model of disciplinary power which is dependent on a particular spatialization of social subjects and technologies of the self. As a result, an uncritical application of this model to all cultural practices supports a far too coherent image of practices of ‘government’ in producing sought-after subject-effects. It is suggested that the different articulations of spatio-temporal presence and absence in cultural technologies require a less totalizing understanding of the forms of power exercised through governmental practices.
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