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Governance and failure: on the limits of sociology

Malpas, J. and Wickham, G. (1995) Governance and failure: on the limits of sociology. Journal of Sociology, 31 (3). pp. 37-50.

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Failure is an ubiquitous and central feature of social life. Yet much sociological inquiry focuses not on failure but on success. This paper adopts a sceptical approach to sociological theory, advancing an account of the necessary limits of sociological inquiry and defending the idea of the primacy of failure on two fronts: first, through the examination of a sociological approach currently developing around the Foucaultian idea of 'governmentality'; and second, through a more general philosophical consideration of the connections between failure and practices of governance or control.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Sage
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