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E-governmentalisation of the state: on the way to society of control?

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2009
Topak, Özgün Erdener
In this study, the emergence of e-government as a ‘governing rationality’ (i.e. e-governmentalisation) is analyzed from the Foucauldian genealogical perspective. In that sense, the type of governing rationalities, the modes of subjectivities, the strategies of power-knowledge and the practices of normalization/inclusion and exclusion that are linked to the emergence of e-governmentalisation are emphasized. Deleuze’s essay on ‘the societies of control’ is used as a theoretical framework in which the emergence of e-governmentalisation is positioned. Different aspects of the society of control are discussed within different chapters taking into account the material transformations in capitalism, the changing mentalities of the state, changing practices and rationalities of surveillance and the changing rationalities of inclusion and exclusion. Based on these analyzes, it is claimed that e-governmentalisation has two interrelated aspects. On the one hand, it is an ‘ethico-political’ rationality which tries to transform individuals into active, techno-entrepreneurial subjects which is required for the production and re-production of the neoliberal knowledge-based society. On the other hand, it is a rationality of surveillance which tries to govern individuals through enhanced systems of surveillance such as databases. Throughout the thesis, the context of Turkey in terms of these two aspects of e-governmentalisation is also taken into account in order to make the theoretical discussions more concrete. It is concluded that e-governmentalisation is an intensifying rationality of the state which may have an influence on the identities of the citizens, on the formal citizenship status and on practices of inclusion and exclusion.