This review article considers two lecture courses by Michel Foucault (1972–73, 1979–80) and two books relating to the whole series of lectures (1970–84) by Stuart Elden. Foucault’s lecture courses can be divided into three phases, the first focused on the difference between sovereign and disciplinary power; the second on biopower, security, and liberalism; and the third on the government of the self and others. Foucault in 1976–79 altered his earlier frame by introducing the concept of governmentality and security dispositif and identified a missing, fourth type of power-governmentality called “socialism,” around which his concerns revolved for the remaining courses. Today there is a new Foucault effect, which has arisen around the courses on governmentality, neoliberalism, and biopower. The two courses by Foucault are situated in relation to the complete set of courses, and Elden’s books are welcomed critically as throwing light on the background to the lectures and Foucault’s main publications in this period but are problematic with respect to Foucault’s theoretical framework.

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