Whither Governmentality Research? A Case Study of the Governmentalization of the Entrepreneur in the French Epistemological Tradition

  • Tomas Marttila Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
Keywords: Bachelard, Bourdieu, Canguilhem, Diaz-Bone, Foucault, governmentality studies, governmentality research, French epistemological tradition, reflexive methodology, discourse analysis, govern­mentalization of the entrepreneur, grounded theory methodology


FOUCAULTian governmentality research has turned out a very powerful tool for analyzing social processes and logics involved in recent appreciation of the entrepreneur as the role model for the conduct of states, organizations and private businesses. However, the lack of interest in further methodological elaboration of governmentality research has left it unclear how the particular theoretical perspective of governmentality researchers influences their empirical observations. The principal aim of this article is to overcome the methodological deficit in governmentality research and indicate one possible way of how the theoretical, methodological, and empirical levels of analysis could be interlinked in a consistent and scrutinizable manner. The suggestion presented for methodologization of governmentality research draws on the methodological insights gained in the French epistemological tradition by Gaston BACHELARD, Pierre BOURDIEU, Georges CANGUILHEM, Rainer DIAZ-BONE and Michel FOUCAULT. It is argued that the reflexive methodology and its key methodological principles of epistemological break and holistic methodology as they were developed in the French epistemological tradition provide a number of instructive insights on how to join the theoretical, methodological and empirical levels of analysis. However, this article goes beyond methodological discussion and applies the elaborated methodological instructions to a case study on the governmentalization of entrepreneur in Swedish governmental discourse.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1303106


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Author Biography

Tomas Marttila, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

Tomas MARTTILA, born 1977, PhD in sociology, Master of Social Science. 1997-2004 study of political science, economic history, history and economics at the University of Lund, Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden) and University College Dublin (Ireland). From 2005 to 2008, fellow of the Graduate School "Markets and Social Systems in Europe" at the University of Bamberg (Germany). PhD completed in November 2010, and PhD thesis published by Routledge (New York) in 2013 ("The Culture of Enterprise in Neoliberalism: The Specters of Entrepreneurship"). Since 2008, research assistant at the Department of Sociology II (Prof. Dr. Richard MÜNCH) at the University of Bamberg. Habilitation project in progress entitled "Political Difference and Social Analysis" dealing with the methodologization of the Laclauan discourse theory. Main research interests include empirical discourse analysis; methods of empirical social research; theories of science; economic sociology; sociology of education.

How to Cite
Marttila, T. (2013). Whither Governmentality Research? A Case Study of the Governmentalization of the Entrepreneur in the French Epistemological Tradition. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 14(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-14.3.1877
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