First and Second Drafts of History: The Case of Trump, Foucault and Pre-Modern Governance
Forthcoming in Geopolitics, History, and International Relations, 9(2), pp. 107-117, doi: 10.22381/GHIR9220175
10 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2017 Last revised: 24 May 2017
Date Written: May 23, 2017
How do we, as scholars – social scientists and historians – respond to momentous contemporary events? Our instincts urge caution, but the events demand action. While blogs and other media offer some paths, they can veer too much towards the snap judgments associated with bad journalism and simplistic representation. This paper consists of two essays, one embedded in the other, that challenge us to think differently about news, social science, and history. The impetus comes from an attempt to make sense of the first, muddled weeks of the new Trump administration in Washington. With reference to Foucault’s concept of governmentality, it reflects on how the CEO-in-Chief at the White House seemed to invoke a form of pre-modern governance, reminiscent of the divine right of kings and echoing a case in the not-too-distant past of a lapse in corporate governance. The main essay then resumes to consider what this means about academic writing and publishing, and what it might mean in terms of new forms of scholarly communication and impact about current affairs, as the first, rough draft of history passes into and through a second.
Keywords: Governance, Politics, Corporate Governance, Governmentality, Modernism
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