The Difference Genealogy Makes: Strategies for Politicisation or How to Extend Capacities for Autonomy

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Processes of politicisation and depoliticisation have become the empirical and theoretical focus for a growing body of political studies. However, the disparate literatures on these processes conceptualise and explore them in quite different ways. This article seeks to make some inroads into these debates by re-evaluating the concept of (de)politicisation and considering how academics can themselves participate in such processes. It suggests that (Foucauldian) genealogical critique offers a particularly fruitful analytically informed strategy for politicisation. Drawing on the work of David Owen, it is suggested that genealogical strategies help to address a depoliticising condition of aspectival captivity and extend human capacities for autonomy, without intensifying states of domination.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-174
Number of pages19
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011