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Foucault, governmentality, strategy: from the ear of the sovereign to the multitude

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alan McKinlay



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


The idea of 'strategy' has a peculiar place in Michel Foucault's work. On the one hand, he rarely discussed strategy directly, although it was an important element of his work, especially through the 1970s. we trace this development in Foucault's thinking, and the specific place his changing conception of strategy played. Machiavelli represented a shift towards governmentality, an infinitely more complex and open-ended notion of power than he had used before. We then turn to Tom Peters as a key figure in the emergence of new management thinking in the last three decades. If Peters spoke strategy to strategists, then over the two decades, he spoke to a constituency of subaltern strategists of how to transform the experience of organised working lives, an objective far beyond competitive advantage.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McKinlay A, Pezet E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Critical Perspectives on Accounting

Year: 2018

Volume: 53

Pages: 57-68

Print publication date: 01/06/2018

Online publication date: 29/04/2017

Acceptance date: 23/06/2016

Date deposited: 25/09/2018

ISSN (print): 1045-2354

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9955

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/


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