This article aims to show how elements from the work of Michel Foucault and actor-network theory can be used as complementary strategies for grasping the constitution of the 'subject' and the 'social' through political technologies. In particular, it aims to show that the ontological separation of human from nonhuman and culture from nature is enacted within specific techniques of government, which can therefore be seen as ontological political technologies. This theoretical agenda is worked through empirical case materials in the form of a historical study of the British milk trade, which offers one particular example of how 'the social' has been inscribed within political assemblages. Using documentary analysis it examines the period from around 1890 to 1920 in dairy agriculture, showing how the modern 'social' was enacted within the sanitary drive for clean milk in the towns and cities, and especially within the struggle against zoonotic tuberculosis transmissible through dairy milk. In this sense the analysis is both a contribution to the theorisation of political technologies and an attempt to shift the terms of debate on these technologies substantially towards the ontological politics of knowing, classifying, and policing the human/social vis-Ã -vis the nonhuman Other.
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2008|
- actor-network theory
- ontological politics
- political technologies