Sorry I've been away. It has been crazy busy these last few weeks with the new semester starting.
Last Friday, my Design and Governmentality course discussed Foucault's governmentality and Mitchell Dean's discussion of the concept. The students' reactions were interesting. They felt that the readings took the glamour out of the ideals of justice or democracy. They did not want them to be just "things".
This is what I think is powerful about Foucault's concept of governmentality is that it forces you to address the materiality and thus reality of governance, which for designers, are the exact loci of potential change. As long as these ideals are just ideals, one feels less responsibility for making them real in the world. But if they are only as real as people's tangible experiences of them, you have to work to make it real and tangible for them through things, institutions, and practices. This notion of materiality has become very important to me as a force for social justice in particular. People like the idea of social justice but often fail to make it tangible to people. If it is not sensed, then does social justice really exist.