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Identity, Technology and their Confluence: Governmentality in the Digital Age


The digital age has posed significant challenges for the governance of society. These challenges stem, in part, from the fact that many of the practices of governance arose in the pre-digital world. Foucault’s notion of ‘governmentality’ is a framework that can take account of the different sets of practices of governance. Comparing current practices with those highlighted by Miller and Rose’s ‘three families’ of governmentality suggests that twenty-first century governance operates as a new, fourth family. This research demonstrates this through an examination of aspects of the law—such as welfare and libel law—that have changed since the nineteenth century, with those changes mapping to the different families. In other words, the manner in which we, as legal subjects, have been constituted has changed, and will continue to change. As such, while specific practices such as fake news are seen to be problematic now, any reactions to them are historically contingent—and so the practices may not be seen to be an issue in a couple of decades time.

Published: 2020-07-01
Pages:81 to 96
Section: Symposium: What is Real about Law and Technology?
How to Cite
Dent, Chris. 2020. “Identity, Technology and Their Confluence: Governmentality in the Digital Age”. Law, Technology and Humans 2 (2):81-96.

Author Biography

Murdoch University
Australia Australia

Chris is an Associate Professor at Murdoch University, where a significant part of his research looks at the regulation of expression and creativity. Prior to that, he had a research-focused position at Melbourne Law School, mostly at the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia. Much of his work there focused on the history and theory of IP. Before IPRIA, he worked in defamation law at the Centre for Media and Communications Law. His underlying critical approach arose while undertaking, initially in Murdoch’s School of Politics, his PhD – an application of Foucault’s archaeological method to a history of law.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074