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Analogues of power: reading psychotherapy through the sovereignty-discipline-government complex

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This paper draws on Foucault’s multifaceted understanding of modern power, the sovereignty–discipline–government complex, as a means of re-conceptualizing, and finding critical analogues for, what is perhaps psychology’s most characteristic formof applied practice: psychotherapy. One of the chief assets of this model is that it enables one to think the dynamic interchange between capillary and modern state forms of power. An explication of this particular interchange is one of the primary focuses of this paper. A brief characterization of technologized disciplinarity is offered as a first tentative model for psychotherapeutic practice. Whereas the idea of a disciplinary technology provides a means of thinking the instrumentation of psychotherapeutic power, Foucault’s notion of the pastorate is seen as a means of thinking its rationality. The notion of technologies of subjectivity enables a way of conceiving of psychotherapy’s functionality as an interchange between a structural apparatus of influence and a micro-politics of self. The confluence of these notions allows one to speak meaningfully of a ‘governmental psychotherapy’, a complex mode of power that operates perhaps both more widely and more privately than one may at first have suspected.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/17532/

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