The Art of 'Governing Nature': 'Green' Governmentality and the Management of Nature
Hart, Kristan James
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This thesis seeks to unpack the notions of Michael Foucault's late work on governmentality and what insights it might have for understanding the ‘governing of nature’. In doing this it also operates as a critique of what is often termed 'resourcism', a way of evaluating nature which only accounts for its utility for human use and does not give any acceptance to the idea of protecting nature for its own sake, or any conception of a nature that cannot be managed. By utilizing a study of the govern-mentalities emerging throughout liberalism, welfare-liberalism and neoliberalism I argue that this form of 'knowing' nature-as-resource has always been internal to rationalities of liberal government, but that the bracketing out of other moral valuations to the logic of the market is a specific function of neoliberal rationalities of governing. I then seek to offer an analysis of the implications for this form of nature rationality, in that it is becoming increasingly globalized, and with that bringing more aspects of nature into metrics for government, bringing new justifications for intervening in ‘deficient’ populations under the rubric of ‘sustainable development. I argue, that with this a new (global) environmental subject is being constructed; one that can rationally assess nature-as-resource in a cost-benefit logic of wise-use conservation. This acts to both marginalize those people that have alternative understandings for our relationship with nature is destructive to nature itself, further embedding the more-than-human into the economic rationality of neoliberal resourcism.