References (75)



Governmentality and Risk

Pat O'Malley

The University of Sydney Law School

September 2009

SOCIAL THEORIES OF RISK AND UNCERTAINTY, pp. 52-75, J. Zinn, ed., Oxford, 2008
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/98

Governmentality provides one of the most influential analyses of the nature and development of risk-based techniques in government over the past thirty years. In contrast to Beck's 'risk society' theory, which sees risk as a unity, governmentality emphasises the diversity of forms that risk takes as a governmental technique, and stresses their very different implications for those who are governed. In contrast to cultural analyses of risk, that concern themselves with the sociological ways risk is associated with particular congeries of social meanings and group processes, governmentality focuses overwhelmingly on governmental plans and programs. A governmental approach to risk is thus little interested in explaining the rise of risk in terms of some grand theory under which all risk is subordinated as an effect of epiphenomenon, nor in how widespread is the social acceptance of governmental plans. This chapter outlines the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach, what its impact has been, and examines how far governmentality can be integrated with risk society and cultural approaches to risk in contemporary life.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: risk, governmentality, criminology, security, social theory, uncertainty

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: September 25, 2009  

Suggested Citation

O'Malley, Pat, Governmentality and Risk (September 2009). SOCIAL THEORIES OF RISK AND UNCERTAINTY, pp. 52-75, J. Zinn, ed., Oxford, 2008; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/98. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1478289

Contact Information

Pat O'Malley (Contact Author)
The University of Sydney Law School ( email )
New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 4,729
Downloads: 1,658
Download Rank: 7,243
References:  75