Religion and Governmentality

  • Kiran Vinod Bhatia
  • Manisha Pathak-Shelat


In this chapter, we elaborate how religion operates as a social institution of governance and discipline in the society. We introduce our readers to the theory of governmentality by unpacking some key concepts such as the dominant rationality, macro- and micro-level of governance, regimes of knowledge and power, politics of truth, and others and elucidate these with empirical examples. The aim is to explain how the ideology of religious discrimination is circulated, reinforced, and reified by both the macro-systems of governance and everyday lived realities of individuals in societies.


Governmentality Dominant rationality Macro–micro-politics Technologies of self Regimes of knowledge/power 


  1. Ahmed, S. (2010). The role of the media during communal riots in India: A study of the 1984 Sikh riots and the 2002 Gujarat riots. Media Asia, 37(2), 103–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antal, C. (2008). Reflections on religious nationalism, conflict and schooling in developing democracies: India and Israel in comparative perspective. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 38(1), 87–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Banaji, S. (2018). Vigilante publics: Orientalism, modernity and Hindutva fascism in India. Javnost, 25, 33–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bennett, W. L. (2008). Changing citizenship in the digital age. In W. L. Bennett (Ed.), Civic life online: Learning how digital media can engage youth (pp. 1–24). Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bhatia, K. (2016). Understanding the role of media education in promoting religious literacy: A critical pedagogy for primary school students in rural India. Media Education Research Journal, 7(2), 11–28.Google Scholar
  6. Bhatia, K. (2018). Mediating religious literacy among primary school children in Gujarat: Classrooms as a liminal space. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 10(3), 152–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhatia, K., & Pathak-Shelat, M. (2017). Media literacy as a pathway to religious literacy in pluralistic democracies: Designing a critical media education pedagogy for primary school children in India. Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture, 8(2), 189–209.Google Scholar
  8. Buckingham, D. (2003). Media education: Literacy, learning and contemporary culture. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  9. de Certeau, M. (1984). The practices of everyday life. Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  10. Foucault, M. (1988). Technologies of the self. In L. H. Martin, H. Gutman, & P. H. Hutton (Eds.), Technologies of the self: A seminar with Michel Foucault (pp. 16–49). London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  11. Foucault, M. (1997). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison (A. Sheridan, Trans.). New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  12. Foucault, M. (2003). ‘Society must be defended’: Lectures at the Collège de France 1975–1976. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
  13. Foucault, M. (2007). Security, territory, population: Lectures at the Collège de France 1977–1978. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  14. Hoechsmann, M., & Poyntz, S. (2012). Media literacies: A critical introduction. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jain, A. (2010). Beaming it live: 24-hour television news, the spectator and the spectacle of the 2002 Gujarat carnage. South Asian Popular Culture, 8(2), 163–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lallement, M. (2014). Foucault’s biopolitics: A critique of ontology. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 43(1), 76–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lemke, T. (2001). The birth of biopolitics: Michel Foucault’s lecture at the Collège de France on neo-liberal government. Economy and Society, 30, 190–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nussbaum, M. (2007). The clash within: Democracy, religious violence, and India’s future. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Patton, P. (1989). Taylor and Foucault on power and freedom. Political Studies, 37(2), 260–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Poyntz, S. (2015). Conceptual futures: Thinking and the role of key concept models in media literacy education. Media Education Research Journal, 6(1), 63–79.Google Scholar
  21. Ricœur, P. (1981). Hermeneutics and the human sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sud, N. (2012). Liberalization, Hindu nationalism and the state: A biography of Gujarat. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Willet, R. (2008). Consumer citizens online: Structure, agency, and gender in online participation. In D. Buckingham (Ed.), Youth, identity and digital media (pp. 49–69). Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kiran Vinod Bhatia
    • 1
  • Manisha Pathak-Shelat
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Journalism and Mass CommunicationUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUnited States
  2. 2.MICAAhmedabadIndia

Personalised recommendations