Governmentality and Managing Security Risks

  • Imran Awan
  • Keith Spiller
  • Andrew Whiting
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Risk, Crime and Society book series (PSRCS)


After briefly exploring different theoretical models of power, this chapter provides an overview of the radical model of power put forward by Michel Foucault, placing a specific focus on his ‘third modality’—governmentality. The chapter moves on to demonstrate how the Prevent Duty operates as an extension of a broader strategy of neoliberal governance that seeks to manage the population through an encroachment of the national security agenda into sections of civil society such as education. To demonstrate how this has been achieved, the chapter discusses how the productive discourses of radicalisation, vulnerability, and resilience work within (and constitute) a ‘dispositif of precautionary risk’ to contribute towards the entrenchment of a particular ‘risk knowledge’, elevating it to the status of truth and legitimising this unprecedented expansion of counter-terrorism powers into education. The chapter concludes by arguing that this expansion, which has been presented as ‘common sense’ and necessary, is instead a worrying development directed at a section of the population and motivated by an enhanced ability to manage potential risks that puts further strain on already stretched practitioners, limits expression and thought within education, and broadens notion of suspicious populations to include students and young people.


Governmentality Power Foucault Precaution Risk 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Imran Awan
    • 1
  • Keith Spiller
    • 2
  • Andrew Whiting
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Applied CriminologyBirmingham City UniversityBirminghamUK
  2. 2.Birmingham City UniversityBirminghamUK

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