The Problematization of Participation through the History of Governmentality

Special Report: Critique of Participation and Governmentality
By Pierre Sauvêtre

This paper distinguishes between two forms of problematization in contemporary works on participation, namely civic problematization and critical problematization, and explains how to articulate them within Foucault’s perspective on governmentality. It then analyzes the problematization of participation during the 1960s  and shows how internal criticism of de Gaulle’s state-dominant participatory device gave rise to participatory practices bound to a new regime of truth, namely the res nullius.


  • problematization
  • governmentality
  • 1968s
  • action committees
  • res nullius
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