Normalizing the State of Exception
Elgar Monographs in Constitutional and Administrative Law series
Chapter 1: A critique of political technology
Political technology refers to the exercise of political power. ëTechnologyí includes the entirety of practices, norms and principles, forms of knowledge and skills, calculations, strategies and tactics that state actors and institutions use in their operations. ëPoliticalí and ëlegalí characterize modalities of how power is exercised. They address an important component of Michel Foucaultís multifaceted concept of governmentality. However, in contrast, political technology stresses statehood as a sphere of activity and intervention for intersecting goals and operative strategies; and it also highlights the importance of law as a form of intervention and basis of authority in the exercise of power. The more common but narrower concept of governmental technology encompasses in its conventional use only the executive and administrative aspects of political technology and emphasizes practice, namely governing itself, whereas political technology also encompasses legislative practices of power as well as private agencies acting in the service of the state. The technology of governing is not always clearly distinguished from the art of government or statecraft with its rather mixed fortunes. From antiquity to the Enlightenment, political philosophy conceived the art of government mainly as the virtuosity or prudentia required by a ruler. The art had to show in forward-looking and prudent politics and policy.