Technologies of Governance and the Shapes of Politics

We begin with a series of questions about how the human and natural sciences have been implicated in past and contemporary projects of “human improvement,” and about the interface between science, public policy and governance. What concepts of biology/race, population/people, culture/ethnos, and science/folk enlivened the political visions of the architects of colonialism and Apartheid? What has happened to these concepts and techniques in the postcolonial episteme? How do they perdure and how do they transform? What new forms of governmentality have emerged in the aftermath of these historical interventions? What do governance and liberal democracy look like from this particular place and historical juncture, twenty years after Apartheid, as possibilities for social action are shaped by new forms of global capital? While Apartheid was partly a set of legal instruments designed to engineer a racially segregated polis in which the vast majority of South Africans were not deemed worthy of the full set of human democratic rights, it also relied on a range of technologies/techniques whose antecedents and effects are still not fully understood and whose entanglement in post-Apartheid social life remains palpable. By examining the many forms of citizenship that have emerged in recent struggles over the meanings of inclusion, aspiration, order, and disorder, we seek to reflect on the conceptual infrastructures of governance as a postcolonial question, and the technologies of the self that are emerging from off-centre sites of mobilisation and concretisation.