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The Mayberry Machiavellians In Power: A Critical Analysis of the Bush Administration through a Synthesis of Machiavelli, Goffman, and Foucault

Social Theory as Politics in Knowledge

ISBN: 978-0-76231-236-8, eISBN: 978-1-84950-363-1

ISSN: 0278-1204

Publication date: 3 December 2005

Abstract

Machiavelli's dictums in The Prince (1977) instigated the modern discourse on power. Arguing that “there's such a difference between the way we really live and the way we ought to live that the man who neglects the real to study the ideal will learn to accomplish his ruin, not his salvation” (Machiavelli, 1977, p. 44), his approach is a realist one. In this text, Machiavelli (1977, p. 3) endeavors to “discuss the rule of princes” and to “lay down principles for them.” Taking his lead, Foucault (1978, p. 97) argued that “if it is true that Machiavelli was among the few…who conceived the power of the Prince in terms of force relationships, perhaps we need to go one step further, do without the persona of the Prince, and decipher mechanisms on the basis of a strategy that is immanent in force relationships.” He believed that we should “investigate…how mechanisms of power have been able to function…how these mechanisms…have begun to become economically advantageous and politically useful…in a given context for specific reasons,” and, therefore, “we should…base our analysis of power on the study of the techniques and tactics of domination” (Foucault, 1980, pp. 100–102). Conceptualizing such techniques and tactics as the “art of governance”, Foucault (1991), examined power as strategies geared toward managing civic populations through shaping people's dispositions and behaviors.

Citation

Paolucci, P., Holland, M. and Williams, S. (2005), "The Mayberry Machiavellians In Power: A Critical Analysis of the Bush Administration through a Synthesis of Machiavelli, Goffman, and Foucault", Lehmann, J.M. (Ed.) Social Theory as Politics in Knowledge (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 133-203. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0278-1204(05)23003-7

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited